Six years after Click! Design That Fits co-founders John and Frances Smersh announced that Frances had been diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s, Frances has died. Here is the remembrance her family is sharing:
Frances Suzanne (Cousins) Smersh passed away on September 4th, 2021 at the age of 54, in Seattle. She died from complications of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, which she was diagnosed with six and a half years prior. She is survived by her husband, John Francis Smersh of Seattle, and sister Natalie Cousins-Robledo (husband Ted Robledo, son Enzo) of Pasadena, CA.
Frances was born in the Greater Los Angeles area, where she lived with her mother, father, grandmother, and sister. After graduating from St. Joseph High School, she studied at Loyola Marymount University, earning her degree in Sociology in 1989. It was there at LMU that Frances met her partner for life, John. After college they lived in Venice Beach, CA for two years. They married in 1990 and moved to Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood in 1991, where she started her first business, Smersh Design Jewelry. The couple moved to West Seattle in 1994 and bought a home in the North Admiral neighborhood.
Living in West Seattle, Frances continued to explore the art of jewelry making, first designing and creating and then selling her pieces at art fairs before expanding to wholesale markets, eventually selling her work in hundreds of stores across the US and internationally. Her passion for art and design flourished over the years, leading her to expand and innovate her jewelry using unconventional materials like Concrete and Pearls, Cork, and Powder Coated Steel to make exquisite, wearable art.
In 2004, it was Frances’s creative spark that inspired Click! Design That Fits, a contemporary gift and accessory boutique co-created and curated by herself and husband, John. In 2010 they moved the store to the West Seattle Junction, where it continues to thrive today.
Following her successes in jewelry, Frances transitioned to creating visual art through painting and sketching, regularly showing as the featured artist at Click!. Her catalog of work is vast and diverse, and has garnered a great deal of attention within the Seattle art-loving community.
Above all else, Frances had an inspiring, uplifting, and giving soul and she always went out of her way to bring joy to the people around her. All who knew her were touched by her kindness and she will be greatly missed.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Washington State chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Services will be held in late September. Updates will be made to the Caring Bridge journal as details are finalized.
The Smershes shared Frances’s journey with her community; five years after moving their shop (WSB’s longest-running sponsor) to The Junction, they shared the news of her diagnosis at just 48. They shared this update in 2018, and Frances was able to attend an exhibit of her work at Providence Mount St. Vincent in early 2020, just before the pandemic.