Frances Johnson

A fine Croteau Beach lady, Fran took her last breath getting out of her warm bath on October 13, 2016. Born 1924 in Kansas, Fran lived through the Dirty 30’s, attending school and excelling. Musically inclined, she played a variety of instruments. She attended university in Illinois with a major in music, aspiring to be a classical pianist. Life took her in another turn.

Fran met Jim Johnson, a musician of black heritage. She was embraced by his family and became active in the Civil Rights movement in the USA. After marriage, they moved to Canada to escape endless discrimination. Both were delighted with their new home. In 1956 they adopted Bernie and Jeff, with Joel several years later. A strong, independent woman, her ambition to return to university in library sciences led her to UBC with her 3 children in tow. Jim remained in Prince George, remaining in his teaching job.

With her Library Science degree in hand she lived and worked in North Van, Nanaimo, Gabriola Island, Comox Valley. In 1968 she moved her family to the Comox Valley. In 1969 she discovered Croteau Beach and bought the Brooks House. But her eye was on 3 acres across the road which she bought in 1979. She was to live the rest of her life in her woods, protecting her property with fierce determination and covenants.

She had wisdom, strength, clarity and a fire deep within her for the environment, social justice, flora and fauna, politics and always her gardens, books, family, community. She always held stead to her beliefs.

A founder of Macdonald Wood Park Society, she fought to preserve this property. She stood in front of the chainsaws. She served on the board, in all capacities, for 20 years. Her involvement was crucial to saving Macdonald Woods.

Fran was immersed in many groups: Naturalists, Seed Savers, Friends of the Library, ABBRA, Croteau Beach Community Plan, Land Trust and more. Fran was North Island VIRL Regional Supervisor.

Fran is survived by her devoted son Jeff, grandchildren Nicole and Yvette, 2 great grandchildren. Thank you to all who helped care for Fran in the last years. She achieved her goal of staying in her small house in her woods. Fran requested no service. Donations to Macdonald Wood Park Society, 9-1501 Balmoral Avenue, Comox, BC V9M 2R8 gratefully accepted in Fran’s name.


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