Shandee Franke was a bright, devoutly Christian young woman with a passion for animals. She took her own life in her mother’s bathroom on Oct. 17. Her mother, Shiree Franke, says Shandee touched many people’s lives before her passing.
“She had a purpose,” Shiree says. “All she wanted to do was help people.”
Shandee Franke was born Feb. 15, 1996, in Eugene. She was very artistic and loved music, and she developed an affinity for animals at a young age. Shiree says that Shandee had a cat named Brownie when she was a kid, and used to carry him around everywhere. More recently, Shandee rescued a then six-week-old chihuahua from a bad situation. She gave him to Shiree, who now keeps him as a service dog. His name is Thor.
Shandee struggled with her mental health, and after having a baby about five years ago began experiencing serious postpartum depression. She headed to Canada, and was couch-hopping for the last four years of her life.
In January, her boyfriend died by suicide. Shiree says that this was the end of the line for Shandee. She made multiple suicide attempts. After one attempt put her in the hospital, Shiree says, Shandee was not held or monitored adequately. Before her final attempt, her mother says, the gun Shandee used to end her life was sold to her far too easily.
“A child desperately needing mental health help is not getting it from walking and getting a gun in 25 minutes,” Shiree says. “There’s something wrong with this picture, there’s something huge wrong with this picture.”
Shandee is survived by her father, Marc Franke, her older brother, Jacob Franke, and her mother. At the end of her life, Shandee had moved in with Shiree, who lives in a shelter facility.
“We had two months of reconnection, after all the struggles between mom and daughter,” Shiree says. “Unlimited, uninterrupted time together.”
Shiree says that Shandee had a beautiful service put on for her; she plans to take her daughter’s ashes to the country, where she can rest in nature.
Eugene Weekly seeks to run an obituary for every person who dies homeless in Lane County in 2021. This is the 13th we’ve published so far. If you know of someone who has died while homeless this year, please let us know at Editor@EugeneWeekly.com.