Obituary of Frances Elizabeth Heath
To RSVP for France’s visitation, please CLICK HERE
After living with Alzheimer’s for 12 years, Frances Heath passed away peacefully at age 78 in the company of her loving husband Dave at Hospice Waterloo Region on July 9, 2021.
Besides Dave, Fran leaves behind her sons David Jr, Alex (Rev. Kimberly Heath) Clive and Stephen. Granny to Anna, Stanley, Gillian, Petra, Harper and Maisie. She will be remembered by in-laws Sue and John Haine, and Brian Cochrane in England. Predeceased by her older sister Margaret Cochrane and parents Richard and Lily Cheyne of Liverpool England.
Fran was born in Liverpool in 1942 during the height of World War II where- a year or two before, a bomb had destroyed her grandmother’s house killing her aunt Edith; her grandmother and aunt Mabel had to move in with Fran’s parents . Fran’s father – a navigator and bombardier in Blenheim bombers, was killed in action in North Africa five weeks after her birth, leaving her mother Lily to raise her and her older sister in genteel poverty on a war widow’s pension. These pensions were degrading and penurious. For example, Fran’s mother had to take her and her sister to apply for new shoes-only to be told that they weren’t yet worn enough.
These circumstances forged Fran’s approach to life – bold, tough, frank, pragmatic, smart, deeply caring and resourceful –often sprinkled with a dose of irreverent Liverpudlian humour.
Fran trained as a medical radiographer (X ray technician) in Liverpool, and after emigrating to Canada with her husband Dave- fresh out of medical school in 1967, worked as a senior radiographer at Kingston General Hospital.
After living in London Ontario for five years, Fran and Dave eventually settled in Waterloo with their four sons in 1978.
Much of her life was focused on their developmentally disabled twin sons Clive and Stephen. After they graduated from high school, she took the unusually bold step of installing them in their own apartment. With her support and that of KW Habilitation they flourished, became very independent, worked at Tim Hortons and roamed the twin cities.
Fran, a lifelong learner, took the real estate course at Conestoga College and in her “spare time” took university courses –all without studying as far as Dave could discern, and obtained her BA in Sociology in 1985.Fran re- entered the work force, first as a life skills support worker at a residence for psychiatric patients run by Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health. Then, after upgrading her radiography skills she joined Nith Valley Family Practice in New Hamburg –which, unusually, had its own X-ray machine
A person of deep Christian faith, Fran made First United Church a focal point in her life, for 40 years, serving on the board, active in United Church Women and singing in the choir. She also sang in the Mennonite Mass Choir, a highlight of which was singing in the Messiah at the Centre in the Square.
Fran loved the theatre: Stratford and Shaw festivals; and Soulpepper, Royal Alexandra Theatre, and the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto.
Fran made friends everywhere she lived, worked and volunteered. She was active in the Canadian Federation of University Women –the Out to Lunch Group a particular favourite. Fran loved the big city buzz of Toronto and spent many weekends at their pied- a- terre at Village by the Grange. She and Dave embraced Toronto’s cultural scene, particularly the Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar on their street and the Art Gallery of Ontario. The Beaches Boardwalk and Toronto Island were favourite places. She signed on as an extra in movies in Toronto-once playing a role as a librarian at the Toronto Reference Library
In 2018 Fran’s Alzheimer’s had advanced to the point where she needed more care. She moved onto the memory floor known as Emma’s neighbourhood at Winston Park retirement home in Kitchener
Cremation has taken place. To attend the memorial visitation for Frances, personal face coverings are required, and relatives and friends must register (RSVP) at www.erbgood.com or by calling the funeral home at 519-745-8445. Visitation will be held at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home, 171 King St. S., Waterloo on Friday, August 6, 2021 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. A private service will be held at First United Church, Waterloo on Saturday, August 7, 2021, at 2:30 p.m., with Rev. Rose Ann Vita and Rev. Kimberly Heath officiating. Family and friends are invited to view the livestream and recording of the funeral service at www.erbgood.com. Interment Parkview Cemetery, Waterloo.
Condolences for the family and donations to First United Church may be arranged by contacting the funeral home at www.erbgood.com or 519-745-8445.
A sincere thank you to the staff at Emma’s Neighbourhood Winston Park retirement home, Hospice Region of Waterloo and a special private PSW Pat Levesque
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Frances
Heath 1942 2021..
Décès pour la Ville:Waterloo, Province: Ontario