GWYNETH (Gwyn) FRAYNE
Date of Birth: February 28, 1934 in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of Death: Oct 16, 2014
Gwyn Frayne died in Courtenay on October 16, 2014. She is survived by her husband, Graham Woodward, her daughter Shona French, her sons Sean French (Marion) and Ewan French (Leslie Carson), step-daughters Trish Greer & Lois Roy, her grand-children Ryan, Matthew (Rachel), Lyssandre, Maxine, Keane, Lara, her great-grand-daughter Anika, her step-grand-daughters Stephanie & Christal , step-great-grand-son Ashton , and her sister-in-law Helen Frayne of Ottawa. She was predeceased by her daughter Lina French, and one brother, Robert Douglas McKee Frayne.
Gwyn had been a social activist all her life, starting when she was President of the Students’ Union at Carleton University. After obtaining her B.S.W. at Toronto University, she worked in New York and Virginia, then Ontario and Quebec as a social worker. She had organized the Central Consumers’ Council in Montreal, which had an active role in policy-making for the English Social Services in Montreal. She was called the “Godmother of the CCC.”
She then became a social service teacher at Dawson College in Montreal. At the latter she became the elected Chair of the Senate and was also an elected Union Executive member. She was a charter member of the National Council of Welfare and was an anti-poverty advocate. She worked for ten years, part-time, in addition to her full-time work, with the Structural Research group led by Maurice Moreau of Carleton University and the University of Montreal. When she took early retirement in order to move to BC, her graduates set up a Social Service Bursary in her honour.
After moving to B.C. in 1991, she became the Programme Coordinator of the Crossroads Crisis Centre in Courtenay for eight years. She was involved with animating for the Eureka Clubhouse for Mental Patients, the Sonshine Club for lunches for the homeless, the Salvation Army’s Shelter for Men, the AHERO,( Ad Hoc Emergency Resources Organization), to name some of many initiatives.
After retiring, Gwyn continued her activism with the Council of Canadians, the Social Planning Council, and the Cruikshank River Choral Song Society. She organized the Coalition to Save Social Programmes since she cared deeply that Canadians should have public health, education and welfare and that water was a human right. She also worked with the Community Action for Justice Coalition and then the Citizens for Quality Health Care as well as the Comox Valley Support Our Seniors. As well, she helped Kel Kelly organize the Peaceful Direct Action Coalition. She loved organizing and promoted the recognition of others, not herself.
She loved singing with the Letz Sing Community Choir, going to aquasize classes and walking her beloved dog Scooter. She also read at least four books a week.
She will be missed by her family and friends, as well as many students and volunteers. She will probably not be missed by some politicians, but she did receive a Governor-General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2012.
A Celebration of her Life will take place on Sunday, December 14th, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Florence Filberg Centre Upper Hall in Courtenay.
In lieu of flowers people are encouraged to send a donation to the Council of Canadians or to the Gwyn Frayne Bursary at Dawson College (3040 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, QC H3Z 1A4).