Clarice Margaret Ashworth was born in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1901. After graduating from high school, she worked at the Mayo Clinic in the art depatment, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and spent her second year of medical illustration study at John Hopkins University, training under Max Broedel, considered the father of medical illustration. In 1936 she began working part-time at the University of Oregon Medical School and eventually becoming head of the Medical Illustration Department.
For many years, Francone was the only medical illustrator in Oregon. In addition to preparing charts and diagrams for medical students and presentations by physicians, Francone illustrated a number of books. The best known of these is an anatomy and physiology textbook, Structure and Function of Man, which she co-authored with OHSU's Stanley Jacob, M.D. She prepared over 600 illustrations for this work. Much of Francone's stunning work consists of half-tones done with carbon crayon on Ross board, with ink and white highlights added to sharpen the images. She also prepared a number of pen and ink charts and diagrams.
Before retiring from the University of Oregon Medical School in 1969, Francone was asked to donate samples of her work to the Archives of Medical Visual Resources at the Countway Library, Harvard University. Ms. Francone died in September 1981. Illustrations used in the Francone exhibit are from the Clarice Ashworth Francone Collection, donated by the Francone Estate to the OHSU Library.