Francesca ‘Frani’ Crawford

Date of Birth

June 30, 1929

Date of Death

July 27, 2015

On July 27, 2015, after a 6 year battle with Parkinson’s, Francesca (Frani) Crawford passed away peacefully at home with her family. Born June 30, 1929, Frani was a 6th generation Californian. She took great pride in her Spanish heritage, being from two of the oldest Spanish families, the Cotas and Carrillos, in Santa Barbara. Her Danish roots go back to her father and grandparents, who were amongst the earliest settlers in Solvang. Frani lived her early years in the Santa Ynez Valley before settling in Santa Barbara, where she and her husband, Leland, raised their two children.

Frani’s ancestry goes back to her great-great-great-grandfather, Sgt Pablo Cota, who came up with Father Serra in 1769, and Frani’s grandmother Elena Pollard de la Cuesta, tracing Frani’s lineage to 1260 in Spain through the Raimundo Carrillo family. By 1788, Sgt Cota had settled the Santa Barbara Presidio and supervised much of the work on Mission San Buenaventura and La Purisima. Sgt Cota’s son, Frani’s great-great-grandfather Francisco Cota, owned the Santa Rosa land grant which he gifted a part (later becoming La Vega) in 1851 to his daughter Michaela Cota for her marriage to Dr. Roman de la Cuesta, a graduate of the University of Salamanca in Spain. De la Cuesta was a rancher and one of the first medical doctors in the Santa Barbara region. Frani spent much of her childhood at La Vega, and at age 13 was one of the youngest girls to win 4-H with her Hereford cow.

Frani’s parents were Dulce de la Cuesta and Earl T Jensen, both from the Santa Ynez Valley. Frani went to boarding school at the Dominican Convent in San Rafael, and later graduated from UC Berkeley, where she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma. At Berkeley, Frani met her husband, Leland M Crawford, with whom she had a loving marriage of 63 years.

Frani was a very beautiful person inside and out: she was fun and would do anything for her family and her many friends. She loved to garden, play tennis, golf, and bridge, and loved to dance with her husband. Frani and her husband traveled extensively with their friends, whom Frani enjoyed organizing and hosting golf trips for all over the world. She was involved with the Jr League, Music Academy, Little Town Club, Santa Barbara Historical Society, and Garden Club. Frani never gave up and always lived with a smile on her face. Frani is survived by her husband Leland; daughter Paula Emmens and husband Bruce; son Leland Crawford and wife Stacey; granddaughter Sophia Crawford; grandson Robert Emmens. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Parkinson’s Association or the Santa Barbara Historical Society.


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