26 June 1924 – 19 November 2018
Frances died peacefully at home, in her 95 th year, surrounded by family. Beloved wife of 68 years to Kazimierz Kalisz, Frances was the proud and loving mother of daughter Mary Jo (Paul Marrin), sons Robert (Beth), John (Chris Pryde) and Mark. Frances was close to and enjoyed the love and companionship of her many grandchildren: Katrine (Jonathan Francki) and Nathaniel Marrin (Loi); Matthew (Jackie), Jonathan (Yoli Perez) and Vanessa (Cesil Fernandes) Kalisz; Ben (Lisa), Thomas (Shelly) and James Kalisz; and great-Oma to Isabelle and Juliette Francki, Remy and Kai Marrin, Noah and Nicholas Kalisz and William Fernandes. Survived by her sisters Corrie van Wietmarschen and Truus Krijn. Predeceased by her brother Jos Vos (Joke Vos-van Wietmarschen) and sisters Jeanne (Wim van Halbeek), Mia (Sef van Kempen), Vier (Wiel Hoedemaker) and brothers-in-law Harry van Wietmarschen and Pierre Krijn.
Born in the village of Echt in the province of Limburg, Netherlands, Frances lived through the German occupation of her homeland, an event that had an impact on her outlook for the rest of her life. At the end of the war, she met her husband Kaz who was liberated from a German work camp. Kaz was taken from his Polish home to serve as slave labour in Germany. Following his liberation, he was temporarily resettled in the Netherlands. Kaz and Frances made the bold decision to carve out a new life in Canada, immigrating to and marrying in Northern Québec (Rouyn-Noranda) and raising four children. A trained teacher in the Netherlands, she completed Teachers’ College in Toronto and pursued addition qualifications in Montréal in order to work in Ontario. Her strength of character, persistence and determination was the foundation for her success in Canada and instilled in her empathy for the immigrant experience.
In 1967, the family moved again, this time south to Toronto, first in the Leslie Street and 401 area and finally settling in Agincourt. At the beginning of the 80’s Frances and Kaz realized their dream of retiring early, moving to the country and building their own home. In 1982, they sold their home in Agincourt and moved to a large property in Warkworth, Ontario. It was during this time that Frances gave life to her creative talents. She became an expert spinner and weaver, creating beautiful blankets, wraps, place mats, fabric for chairs, footstools and various cushions on her two looms. One of her finest creations was a Communion dress for her granddaughter Vanessa, which won first prize in a competition. But her skill at gardening was beyond compare. For many years Frances and Kaz had bumper crops from their extensive vegetable garden and orchard. As well, her flowerbeds were her pride and joy – and justly so.
Even though she established herself and her family in Canada, she always maintained strong ties with her family in the Netherlands, beginning with the trip the entire family made to the Netherlands in 1963. Over the years, many letters, telephone calls and subsequent visits were made on both sides of the ocean. Frances was a favourite “tante” to her many nieces and nephews.
In 2014 the property in Warkworth had become too much for Oma and Dzadzio and they made the decision to move into a condo in Scarborough to be closer to their family. Frances enjoyed almost perfect health for most of her life, which complemented her independent spirit. Although they no longer drove once they moved to the city, Frances walked almost daily in the neighbourhood. She made many new friends in her building and her local church, Prince of Peace. She enjoyed frequent visits from her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, catching up on their lives both in person and on Instagram. Frances was an excellent cook due to her teacher training and the many years of refining her culinary skills. Christmas was not Christmas without Oma’s gifts of homemade Christmas cake and apple leather. Once in Toronto, Frances also was able to indulge in her love of classical music as a subscriber to both the TSO and Tafelmusik. Her monthly trips to the concert hall were a highlight for both Frances and her son John and daughter-in-law Chris.
Frances left a lasting impression on all those that knew her and was greatly loved and admired by her family. We count ourselves fortunate to have been part of her life and we each hold precious memories that will provide comfort in her passing.
A funeral Mass will be held at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Alton Towers Circle in Scarborough on Friday, November 23 rd at 10:30 am followed by the interment at Christ the King Cemetery on Steeles Avenue East in Markham. A reception will be held at the Cemetery following the interment.
The family encourages any messages of condolence to be left on the ABC website. Frances requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Covenant House (www.covenanthousetoronto.ca).