Frank passed away 11 May 2019, in Victoria, BC, at 89 years of age. Beloved husband and soul-mate of Margaret (‘Jo’) for 65 years, father of Nigel (Deborah), Richard (Monika), and Kevin (Kim), and grandfather of Franz, Ian, Paul, Andrew, Maria, Tony, and Megan. He will be sorely missed but lives on vibrantly in all our memories. His life was and continues to be an inspiration to us all.
Born 26 July 1929 in Greenford, Mddx., England, he did National Service in the British Army Field Intelligence Branch and was posted in Trieste for two years 1949-51. Post army service he became a teacher, teaching in Alexandria Egypt (Victoria College), Old Windsor, and Germany (Düsseldorf, British Army Education Service), before emigrating with his young family to Canada (directly to Powell River, BC) in 1962. He was a teacher and Principal in School District #47 for 28 years until retirement in 1990. A former Queen’s Scout in England and Scoutmaster in Egypt, on arrival in Canada he was rapidly identified as being of ‘the right stuff’ and pressed into service as an officer in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. Thus from a Scouting and Army background began a life-long association with the Navy. He served twice as Commanding Officer of RCSCC Malaspina, and spent many summers on staff at HMCS Quadra, starting with the Overnight Sail program and eventually becoming the first Flotilla Commander, responsible for a hybrid fleet of naval auxiliary vessels and commercial tugs. He was a strong advocate of the view that “sea cadets belong at sea” and was instrumental in RCSCC Malaspina earning a reputation as a ‘seamanship’ corps. This developed into RCSCC Malaspina hosting an annually recurring ‘Easter Cruise’ where sea cadets from across Canada would descend upon Powell River to venture into Desolation Sound in a flotilla of 32 foot cutters and auxiliary vessels, tracing the explorations of Captain Vancouver. Following his years with sea cadets, he served as a LCdr in the Primary Reserve, qualified and exercised as a naval control of shipping (NCS) officer and was responsible for sea-trades recruitment in the Powell River and Prince Rupert detachments of HMCS Discovery. His enthusiastic involvement and leadership example within both the sea cadet movement and the Naval Reserve, and his commitment to the ideals of national service, were material factors in all three sons and three of five grandsons choosing to join the Royal Canadian Navy.
In addition to his naval involvements, Frank was an active member of the Liberal Party of Canada, and of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #164 (twice President, Honourary Life Member, and long-time editor of ‘Alexander’s Rag’), and a well-known and highly respected member of the community. He served as a committee chair and member of the Corporation of the District (later City) of Powell River, and as a member of the Powell River Assessment Appeal Board.
Above all, Frank’s life was an inspiration to all who knew him, combining an unflagging sense of good humour and fun, and a love of company and intelligent conversation. He loved singing and could always be relied upon to enliven family Christmas gatherings with a spirited rendition of “Green Grow the Rushes , O!” (… and evermore shall be so!), and he taught thousands of cadets that there were in fact words to the Naval March, Heart of Oak, and that they should be sung with gusto! He also loved to instruct his grandchildren in the intricacies of ‘English’ mathematics with puzzles such as “if it takes a week to walk a fortnight, how long does it take a fly with clogs on to crawl backwards through a barrel of treacle?” Even in recent years, in the face of mounting physical ailments, he was a model of steadfast and never-complaining stoicism and optimism, very much a glass-three-quarters-full man (and he would never tolerate an empty one!). His was, from start to finish, an outstanding and enduring example of a life well-lived.
The family would particularly like to thank the staff at Amica/Somerset House for their friendship and care of Frank over the last four months.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Powell River Legion (Branch#164) at 11:00 am on 22 June.
In lieu of flowers, we would welcome donations to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Condolences may be offered to the family below.
Bonnie and Nels Johanson
Ken Smith, Calgary
Brian Roe, Amica at Somerset House