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Frances Riecken, potter

By — Adam Bernstein,

Frances Riecken, 94, a onetime speech pathologist who became a production potter and ceramics instructor, died April 9 at Grand Oaks Assisted Living in Washington. She had complications from dementia.

Mrs. Riecken taught lip reading and speech in the Minneapolis public schools and in private practice before settling in the Washington area in the late 1950s.

She studied ceramics at Washington’s Corcoran School of Art in the early 1960s, and her ceramics appeared in area galleries and restaurants. Her signature “popover pan” is included in the permanent collection of what is now the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

“I don’t consider it finished until someone uses it,” Mrs. Riecken told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1996, “whether it’s filled with food or flowers, whether it’s providing sustenance for the body or the spirit.”

Frances Manson was a native of Chisholm, Minn., and a 1938 graduate of the University of Minnesota. She received a master’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Iowa in 1941.

She was a founding member of the Kiln Club of Washington, a ceramics instructor in Montgomery County adult education programs and a volunteer at the Montgomery County Thrift Shop. She was a District resident before moving to Grand Oaks a few years ago.

Her first marriage, to Spencer Brown, ended in divorce, and she married Henry W. Riecken in 1955.

In addition to her husband, of Washington, survivors include two children from the first marriage who were adopted by Riecken, Susan Riecken of Washington and Gilson Riecken of San Antonio; a daughter from the second marriage, Anne Riecken of South Tamworth, N.H.; and two granddaughters.

— Adam Bernstein

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