The Town of Queen Creek has lost another member of its history with the passing of Frances Brandon-Pickett. This news comes just over a month after the loss of Mayor Gail Barney on June 22.
"Our community lost a good one with the the passing of Frances Brandon-Pickett," Vice Mayor Jeff Brown posted on his Facebook page yesterday. Brown has been acting mayor since the death of Barney until an elected mayor is seated in January. "I offer deepest condolences to her family and all who loved her. She was a member of one of the founding families of Queen Creek, a teacher, an artist and a lifelong supporter of our schools. Her legacy will be carried forward in every student who attends her namesake school in Queen Creek Unified School District."
The Queen Creek Unified School District released the following statement on her passing: "We at the Queen Creek Unified School District are saddened to hear of the passing of Frances Brandon-Pickett and offer our deepest condolences to her family and all who loved her. Brandon-Pickett was a member of one of the founding families of Queen Creek, a teacher, an artist, and a lifelong supporter of our schools. We are honored to have one of our elementary schools as her namesake, and it will surely carry her legacy on in every student who attends."
Frances Brandon-Pickett Elementary Principal Brian Butson remembered meeting her when she came to read to students.
“The family has strong values deep-rooted in the community," Buston said. "That’s something that we try to bring out in our school. We have always appreciated the support of her and her family.”
Dr. Perry Berry, QCUSD superintendent, said he’s thankful for the founding family’s support for Queen Creek Unified Schools, and that their shared values and commitment to education will live on.
“When Frances Brandon-Pickett Elementary opened in 2005, it just made sense to honor someone so fundamental in Queen Creek schools," Berry said. "Over the years, she continued to be a genuine community partner and supporter. Her painting hangs in the school lobby, a gift that showcases her talent as an artist. She is part of our history and will forever be remembered."
Services for Brandon-Pickett are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20 at 10:30 a.m. at Bueler Chandler Mortuary, located at 14 W. Hulet Drive in Chandler.
Brandon-Pickett was born in November 1927 at home to Charles and Lalier Brandon in a building that had once been an old mule skinner’s cook shack, according to San Tan Historical Society records. She grew up loving the outdoors and the desert was her playground. For that reason, she hated school because it trapped her indoors. Later, Brandon-Pickett became a teacher at the Rittenhouse Elementary School; the same school that she avoided as a youngster and the same school that is now the home and museum for the San Tan Historical Society.