May 12, 1927 – November 10, 2020
Norma Elizabeth Franke passed away peacefully on November 10, 2020, surrounded by close family members, after telling a few jokes, listening to favourite songs, and expressing to the world that she had had a truly wonderful life.
Norma was born on May 12, 1927 in Stratford, Ontario, as the only child of Marianne (Horman) and Norman Elligsen.
And Stratford always remained home in her heart, as Norma deeply loved the character of the community in which she grew up and how it flowered over her life. Yet, she opened her mind to a much wider world, first inspired by her years of study at Waterloo College, where she fell in love with writing and the life of ideas, making life-long friendships in the process.
With the burst of confidence that followed, Norma developed an early career as a writer in the burgeoning radio and television scene in London, Ontario, working at CFPL.
But it was in London that she also met the love of her life, a young immigrant from West Germany, Juergen “Paddy” Franke. And, together, Norma and Paddy soon made a humble yet exceptionally happy life near Burks Falls, Ontario, raising sheep, playing with cats, and paddling the Magnetawan River running through their land.
With their two young children, Heidi and Mark, eventually Norma moved with Paddy out West, where Paddy began a new career as a country veterinarian in Mission, BC. There, Norma grounded the life of the family through exceptional endeavours in vegetable gardening, gathering fruits, nuts, and berries, and splendid experiments and accomplishments in gourmet cooking.
She also led the family into equal embrace of the coastal wilderness, music festivals, intellectual discourse, politics, and fine arts.
After the untimely death of Paddy in 1997, Norma remained active as an environmentalist, supporter of animal rights, and advocate for the benefits of critical public broadcasting and journalism. Despite failing eyesight and mobility, she thrived with independence.
As well, Norma became a loving influence and mentor to her first grandchild, Anna, daughter of Heidi and her husband, Andy. And she was brought great joy that Mark and his partner, Jill, ultimately returned home to Stratford, where they now raise Norma’s other two grandchildren, Sonia and Pasha.
Please remember Norma with her great wit, intelligence, humour, and cunning insight, all of which remained intact until the end.
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