North Glengarry’s Dedication and Leadership Award for 2011 goes to a lady of strong character, hard work, and a good sens of “ha, ha.”
She is Frances Fraser from Dalkeith. She was born in Montreal and raised in Lancaster with one sister and two brothers. Frances has a sunny disposition, and can always find the positive side of any situation she faces.
Without stating her age, Frances was born the year the movie Casablanca was made. It turned out to be one of her favourites, along with Singing in the Rain. Just to show that she has kept up with the times, she also likes the new Harry Potter movies.
As a young child, her best friend and buddy was a black and white mutt named Teddy. When Teddy was no more, it was time for Frances to start school and she occupied her thoughts looking forward to playing basketball at the lunchtime recess.
Wintertime meant “family ice skating time” in the Fraser family. They would skate for miles on the shallow creeks that seemed to be everywhere in the Lancaster area. Her Aunt Mary taught her to skate on boy’s skates. When they would all return home, everyone jostled to stick their feet in the old woodstove to thaw out. They are fond memories for her.
Frances says she “survived” high school with enough good grades to get into university.
She attended St. Patrick’s Ottawa Teaching Program. Once there, life got more interesting and at the age of 21 she graduated.
A 33-year fun, hard-working teaching career followed. She taught science and Physical Education.
Somewhere in mid-life, love found Frances.Marriage, a country home and retirement followed. Just to be “lucky”, she and Louis Loczy got married on a Friday the 13th in the same year that Prince Charles and Lady Diana were wed.
With retirement came new interests. Frances was sitting at the Dalkeith Library with Jean MacLennan one day a few years ago and the Dalkeith History Club was born.
Frances is the driving force behind her group, but credits the members with being able to inspire one another, while having fun doing something interesting for their Dalkeith community. Some members have come and gone over the years, either having passed away, or moved on to other things.
Frances says they all brought something important, in valuable and worthwhile contributions to the group.
Frances would like to say thank you to those members: Joelle Claudon, Dorothy Irvine, Louis Loczy, Irvine Barton, Peggy Phillips,Marjorie and Allen Campbell, Jacques Lavigne, Lynn MacNab, Brenda Noble, Louis Seguin,Nicole St. Pierre, Denny Allan, Rose-Marie Deley, Clara Taylor, Jean MacLennan, Douglas Irvine, Anne MacGillivray, Maggie Dean, Helen Kaufman, Stuart Robertson, Michael E. Cartwright, Phyllis Noble, Emerson MacGillivray and Anne MacDonell.
Frances, in addition to leading her group for the 200th anniversary events for the village of Dalkeith, spent hundreds of hours compiling photos and information for the Dalkeith Historical Booklet, and the Dalkeith Cookbook.
They attended spring trade shows in two towns, organized a re-enactment Historical Canoe Run down the Riviere de Grasse (Rigaud River) in April, had an unveiling of the Robertson Mills Plaque in June, as well as having participated in the Glengarry Historical Garden tours, and then running four days of non-stop events in July.
In August the group attended the Lake of Two Mountains Horse Show to sell souvenirs and promote Dalkeith.
In September they had a table at the Cornwall Square Mall to promote their last 200th anniversary event, which is coming up on Nov. 5, a silent art auction.
Frances is also a member of the Vankleek Hill Nature Society, likes to canoe and stays busy at home with lawns and gardens. Frances and Louis and their dog Honey do a great deal of summer swimming in nearby freshwater lakes.
Frances also learned to play the bagpipes and has joined the Quigley Highlanders Pipes and Drums, where she is happy playing in the middle of the back row.
She is a great person to work on a project with and is full of energy and optimism. Frances will receive her honours at the upcoming North Glengarry Business and Awards Gala on Thursday, Sept. 29.
There are 30 tickets left for the event. Tickets can be obtained by calling Tish at 613-363-5632.;