Helen Margaret Franey

Margaret Franey died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday November 1st at Lady Minto Hospital on Salt Spring Island. She was 86-years old and had been living an active and happy life up until June of this year when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Margaret had greatly enjoyed living at her Salt Spring Island home at Isabella Point and travelling the world with her loving husband Basil. In recent years they had toured Canada, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, South America, and Hawaii. The last of these adventures was a driving trip around New Zealand in February.  Her greatest distress in the last years of her life had been the passing of dear friends.

Margaret was born Helen Margaret Simpson in Montréal on October 2nd, 1925. Her parents Helen Baxter Henderson (1902-1978) and James Allan Simpson (1900-1983) followed their only daughter to Vancouver not many years after she started a family in Burnaby in the 1950s. Growing up in Montréal and spending summers at the family cottage in the Laurentians, she met Basil on a trans-Atlantic ocean-liner at the beginning of what was her first trip abroad, and his return to his native England. They were married August 5, 1950 in Montréal and moved to the Vancouver area in 1952.

Margaret worked as a schoolteacher in both Montréal and Vancouver before raising her family and volunteering with charitable organizations over the years. Especially important to her was her time reading, enjoying nature, and working with the Clef Society in Burnaby, helping to provide scholarships to promising young musicians.

She is survived by Basil (born 1925), her sons Alan (born 1957) and Ian (born 1959), her grandsons James and Evan (born to Alan and Donna in 1987 and 1991 respectively), her foster daughter Caroline Grieve (born 1958), her sister-in-law Patricia Colley, and numerous extended family members and friends.

The family would like to express tremendous gratitude to those who helped care for Margaret in her last days. Special thanks go to Dr. David Woodley and team members providing in-home and hospital palliative care over the past five months. Their kindness and untiring skill in treating Margaret will always be remembered.

Margaret Franey always had an exceptional affinity and appreciation for the natural world, from the time she devoted herself to rescuing animals as a child, through her remarkably confident lengthy swims, right up to the peaceful life she made for herself at Isabella Farm. Margaret will be remembered in a simple ceremony to be conducted later when her ashes will be buried near her home. In lieu of flowers, Margaret would have appreciated any donations in her memory be to Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre, 322 Langs Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, V8K 1N3. Phone 250-537-0777.

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