After 90 years of a life that touched the hearts of many, Fran peacefully left us for greener pastures on November 15, 2012, after a brief illness. Surrounded by loving family, her last wish was to give her love to her family and all her dear friends, many from Nelson where Fran lived for almost 75 years. She leaves behind her two children, Patrick (Paddy) Jr. (Susan), Mary (Ed), granddaughter Michelle (Rob), grandchildren Sean, Katherine, Robert and Marie, great-grandsons Joshua and Cameron and many nieces and nephews, who she so enjoyed over the years. We will all miss her effusive, affectionate nature, shining intelligence and goofy jokes!
Born in Nelson on December 16, 1921, Fran grew up in Willow Point, on an apple orchard across from Kootenay Lake. She left to join the Royal Canadian Armed Forces and after the war, completed her teaching degree at UBC. She met her husband, Paddy, a twinkly-eyed, hard-working Irishman, in Prince Edward Island but the Kootenays beckoned to Fran. Paddy, of course, fell in love with Nelson where they happily settled in 1958 to raise their family. Fran taught in local schools until she and Paddy built and operated the Willow Bay Motel until their retirement. Just this year, Fran moved to Vernon, BC, to be near her daughter and her family, where she enjoyed a beautiful Okanagan summer and fall.
Fran lived by her motto: “God put us on this earth to make it a better place.” As a woman who “walked the talk”, she put her incredible drive and energy into serving many organizations in her beloved community including the Selkirk College Board, David Thompson University Society, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church and the Canadian Cancer Society. In recognition of her tireless volunteer work, Fran was honored as Nelson’s Citizen of the Year in 1994, which she accepted with great appreciation and a firm determination to carry on helping her fellow man until she left this earth, which she did.
Fran’s family has been deeply touched by the outpouring of loving tributes to their mother, grandmother and aunt from so many who knew her professionally and personally. We knew how special she was; little did we dream how many others knew it, too. To all of you who contacted us with fond memories and condolences, thank you so much.
Fran had a loving God in her life, whom she shared with her special extended family in Nelson. For you, she would like to close with this, her most loved prayer:
God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
Thy will, not mine, be done.
A service will be held for Fran in Willow Point in the spring. Donations on her behalf may be made the Canadian Cancer Society or the local SPCA.