The Life of Francis (Frank) Gordon Faughnan
1/29/1922 to 4/19/2017
Francis (Frank) Faughnan passed away peacefully on 4/19/2017 age 95. Frank was a World War II veteran of the Canadian fourth armored division and a resident of Outremont, Rigaud, Ville St. Laurent and Pointe Claire. He is survived by his children John, Steven and Claire, grandchildren Lauren, Timothy, Benjamin and Brinna, and sisters Barbara Anger and Lou Kelly. He was predeceased by his son Brian, his wife Sheila Cox, and his brothers Doug and Brian. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Ste. Anne's Hospital Foundation. A memorial service will be held on Saturday May 27; please see www.frank.faughnan.com for memorial details and more about the life of Frank Faughnan.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday May 27 from 10:30am to 1:00pm at Traiteur M Gérard, 108 Avenue Walton, Pointe-Claire, QC H9R 1S6. Ashes will be interred at Mt Royal cemetery following the memorial service at 2:30pm.
A photo library of Dad’s life.
Thank you for joining us today to remember my father Frank and to express thanks to those who helped with his last years.
Micheline, Richard, Kevin and William have been friends of my parents and our family for many years. Micheline and the family visited my mother and helped in her care and then did the same for my father. My father loved his visits from Micheline; they were a part of why he enjoyed his last years so much more than anyone had expected. It has been a pleasure for me to watch Kevin and William grown into young men over the past 15 years.
Ste Anne’s was my father’s home for the past 3 years. He moved in a few months before my mother entered hospice care. The people of Ste Anne and Canada’s veterans care were very good to him. I thought he would do poorly, but he flourished. There he could feed his inner monk; he liked the quiet, the routine, and the beautiful views from his room. He made boxes and bird houses, visited the local library, loved the field trips, loved chatting with his friends. Though the friends came and went. As did he.
With weekly visits from Micheline, daily calls from my sister Claire, our FaceTime video calls and family visits his life had right balance for him. That life had some adventure too, such as a 2015 epic, now-or-never, trek to San Francisco with Steven and I to visit his sister Barbara. That trip could have been a reality TV show; he loved to tell stories of it.
Dad had had more than a few hard times in his life, but his last years were unexpectedly happy. At his end he was known for a zen-like appreciation of the moment. He was the focus of much love and attention from care-givers, friends, and beloved children and grand-children. From him I saw that not only are their second acts in life, there are fourth and fifth acts as well.
Looking through the photos assembled for this memorial I see across 95 years both joy and sorrow. Dad lost his youngest son, Brian Faughnan, when he was 80. He lost his wife, Sheila Cox Faughnan, three years ago. He lived with depression and and an autism-like condition in his childhood and after WW II – though that eased in his 60s. Probably because of that Dad was a longtime practitioner of introspection and a fan of psychoanalysis.
95 years was time enough for joy as well. Joy from marriage in his late 30s. Joy in the company of babies (every baby!) and animals. Among animals especially a cat misnamed “Mellow”, a small dog aptly called “Napoleon”, and the “Master Squirrel”. The Master Squirrel was a hereditary position; when one back-yard rodent king retired Dad would anoint another. On his neighborhood walks he visited every passing dog, in one war photo he is washing a dog. Dad liked the company of animals.
Despite being an atheist from an early age my father enjoyed the stories of people’s beliefs. He would spend hours with those who sought his conversion, though always they were disappointed. Thanks to those visits for years the family read The Watch Tower and The Plain Truth. As a teen at Darcy McGee High school he enjoyed “Apologetics”, the art of arguing for the existence of God. His sister remembers he was fond of the Rosicrucians and “Hayakawa the semanticist”.
I believe he liked the adventure of preparing for war and the company he kept then. He was a good typist, which is perhaps why he was assigned to the telegraph corp. During the war he was a signals operator in a communications tank – basically a roving bullseye on the western front with a wooden barrel. I would not have liked that, I don’t know what he really thought.
He bought a bike when he was young that he loved – a CCM Road Racer. I have an old flyer for it, it was a thing of beauty. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of him riding it. He skied at Mt St Sauveur, swam, danced, played tennis and badminton. Badminton and dance were part of how he met my mother. He also boxed; he told me he once lost badly to a gifted amateur. Recently, his memory fading, he claimed to have fought William Shatner. We don’t think that actually happened – Shatner is 7 years younger. They were in the same neighborhood though. It’s possible…
Dad was a master of Duct Tape. For a time we drove a old Valiant made largely of Duct Tape. He had a pragmatic approach to home projects, he produced some functional but peculiar devices from his basement shop. He loved going to movies with my brother Brian. He saw the first King Kong as a child and a remake with my family. His aunt Madge took him to the movies as a child, she was his guardian angel into the 1980s. He had a great laugh especially when he and my brother Steven got going.
Always he read, usually alongside my mother. My mother and father passed many happy hours that way. He carried bags of books to and from our local libraries. We found among his effects an address book almost filled with hundreds of names, almost all checked off. It was a mystery until we realized they were all names of authors.
My father did not win fame or fortune, but against long odds and disabilities he did one very important thing. He stuck around. He fell down, and he got up again. And again. Over his long life the good outweighed the bad. He had the love of his wife and children and his grandchildren – Lauren and Tim, Ben and Brinna.
His endurance is something we can remember him for. You fall down, you get up. One day things may be better. For Dad it worked out in the end.