The Sam Hinton Website - Francie
Frances Amelia Fournier Forster
2 September 1905 - 30 September 2003
Text by Leanne Hinton & Katrina Cooper
Frances Forster. Photo by Matt Hinton, 1993
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Frances Amelia Fournier Forster, Leslie Hinton’s sister.
Francie was a vibrant, insightful, artistic woman. An exceedingly fine concert violinist, she gave many concerts throughout her life, and had her own radio program for a couple of years, playing violin, accompanied by her mother. She played first violin for composer Homer Simmons’ chamber group for many years. She started teaching violin when she was 16 years old, and continued to do so during the depression. Before the depression, Francie had gone to UCLA’s old campus. She was able to go back to UCLA under the NYA, one of Roosevelt’s programs. She illustrated musical instruments for the NYA, with Leslie’s collaboration, for a training book for school children.
After getting her BA and teaching credential in 1937, she went to work in the LA school system. Later, she earned her Master’s Degree in Music Education at USC, and became a Supervisor of Music for roughly 100 schools in the Los Angeles area, specially charged with overseeing the teaching of strings. She wrote the string method for schools still in use today.
Frances came from an extremely musical family, who came to the United States from Canada when Frances was 8 years old. Her aunt, Elizabeth Fournier, was a successful singer in Canada, and her mother Belle Fournier (a pianist) and father Joseph Leslie Forster (a singer) met in music college in Toronto. When they first moved from Canada, they lived in Oxnard, where Frances's three siblings were born -- Lawrence, Elizabeth Leslie and Raymond. Mr. Forster set up a music store in Oxnard: the store and music lessons was the family living. Later the family moved to Inglewood, where the "Forster Studio" continued with lessons and concerts. The four siblings and the parents did many performances together -- of the siblings, Frances was the violinist, Lawrence the pianist, Leslie played viola and Raymond played cello. During the depression they made their living giving music lessons; people who could not afford to pay money paid them in produce, goods and services. But Frances, hailed as a "child musical genius" when she was young, was the only one of the siblings who made her career in music.
Francie was an avid traveler. With her brother Lawrence and often with others, she took many trips all over Mexico and South America, normally traveling in a well-equipped Airstream trailer and frequently accompanied by one or two of the cats and dogs she had throughout the years. Often in pursuit of musical experience, she also traveled to Russia, Egypt, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, New Zealand, China and elsewhere.
A fabulous gardener, Francie was always surrounded by fruit and flowers of staggering variety and superb quality.
Francie was loved, and will be missed, by many.
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