Frances Brandon-Pickett, a member of one of Queen Creek’s founding families and the namesake of a local school has died. She was 94.
Her death was announced Tuesday, Aug. 2 in a statement from the Queen Creek Unified School District.
She was teacher, an artist and a lifelong supporter of Queen Creek's schools.
“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,” according to the statement.
Frances Brandon-Pickett Elementary School was named after Brandon-Pickett when it opened in 2005. Her presence is felt as soon as visitors enter the school, when they see the display case filled with artifacts and photos donated by Brandon-Pickett. Visitors can also see an oil painting of mustangs created by Brandon-Pickett especially for the school. Mustangs are the school mascot.
“The family has strong values deep-rooted in the community. That’s something that we try to bring out in our school. We have always appreciated the support of her and her family,” stated Frances Brandon-Pickett Elementary School Principal Brian Butson.
He also said Brandon-Pickett would come and read to students.
In the statement, QCUSD Superintendent Perry Berry said he was thankful for the founding family’s support for Queen Creek schools.
“When Frances Brandon-Pickett Elementary opened in 2005, it just made sense to honor someone so fundamental in Queen Creek schools,” Berry stated, “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.”
Brandon-Pickett was born at home in 1927 to Charles and Lalier Brandon, in a building that had been once been an old mule skinner’s cook shack, according to information from the San Tan Historical Society.
Brandon-Pickett loved playing in the outdoors and, ironically for the future teacher, took every opportunity she could to skip classes.
"But over time she discovered that with the right teacher, school could be fun and rewarding," the San Tan Historical Society noted. "Years later, Frances 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."
Funeral services for Brandon-Pickett will take place Saturday, Aug. 20 at 10:30 a.m., at Bueler Chandler Mortuary, 14 W. Hulet Drive, Chandler.