Born In: Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
Born: July 7th, 1947
Passed in: Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
Passed on: August 3rd, 2012
Elmer James Froese--husband, father, grandfather, brother, teacher, coach and friend-- passed peacefully late Friday evening, 03 August 2012, at the Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Hospice in Kamloops after a long and remarkable battle with cancer.
Elmer was born on July 7, 1947 in Chilliwack, and raised in Yarrow by his parents, Henry and Ann Froese. Elmer and his two older sisters, Lorna and Evelyn, were first generation Canadians; he recalled many stories of his family’s working farm and the time and effort needed to put down roots in the Canadian landscape.
Elmer and Linda met while skiing at Tod Mountain and were married in June of 1974 at Linda’s childhood home on Deer Lake in Burnaby. They lived in Kamloops for three years, before finding their dream property on Little Heffley Lake, close to skiing, hiking, fishing and canoeing. Elmer designed and built their house, which stands proudly today looking out over the lake. He enjoyed working on projects, tennis, and relaxing with friends and family on Hornby Island—the family’s incredible retreat for close to 35 years. He spent many hours watching the sunset, picking blackberries, and playing cards with his children, Jordana and Nathan. Hornby was one of his favorite places in the world and it was the only time of the year that he would take his watch off to fully embrace “being on island time.”
In 1976 he found his true calling as a teacher, first in Barriere, then in Kamloops, where over the years he was a Computer Coordinator, then Math Teacher, Career Preparation Counselor, and Basketball Coach at SaHali Senior. (Anyone who was ever in his math class was taking a course in Froese jokes as well, and received an automatic ‘A’ in Humor…or was that an ‘A’ for tolerance of said humor?) He volunteered an immeasurable amount of time and energy to his students and school, always with remarkable passion and perseverance; he remained committed to teaching and coaching until he was unable to work three years ago.
Elmer lived and breathed basketball but he loved all sports (except volleyball, because it interfered with basketball season): playing with his kids in the basement; establishing the first spring league in Kamloops; taking the SaHali Senior Boys to the Provincial AAs many times, and to Gonzaga for team camps. He was a great coach, a kind mentor, and a passionate advocate for the development of the game. He recently received the Jack Buckham award in recognition of his outstanding dedication to athletics, as well as a special award of merit from Basketball BC.
The cancer that finally cut his life short also revealed his optimism, exceptional mental discipline and resilience. He considered himself “a healthy man living with cancer” and pursued the fullest life possible in spite of the disease. This attitude, combined with his dedication to natural and holistic treatment helped him to live with cancer for more than a decade, far beyond anyone’s expectations.
Throughout this journey he was always grateful and amazed at he love, support, teachings, cajoling, guidance and encouragement of young and old alike: so many people impacted his life in so many positive ways, helping him to live his best life ‘High Off the Glass.’ Elmer and his family are thankful for the unconditional support of Drs Bantock, Street, Pukhey, Herzog, Klimo, and Bachand, as well as the nursing staff at Royal Inland, Vancouver General, and Lions Gate Hospitals; and the support of Kamloops Home Care staff. The nurses and volunteers of the Marjory Willoughby Snowden Hospice were all that one could ask for, offering compassion, dignity and grace to Elmer in his last seven months. Rob in Penticton, Miri on the mountain, Sandi on the river, Lance and Sue, Norm and Margaret, Phil and Shannon, and Jim and Bev, offered Elmer continued support love and support, making a profound difference in his life.
Left to love and remember his many talents, his pursuit of excellence (and sometimes over-the-top attention to detail), his dry wit (‘Need to borrow my glasses, Ref?), and wisdom are his wife, son and daughter, son-in-law, sisters and brothers in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. Elmer was a new Opa and there will be many stories that we will share with his grandson as he grows up. He was a good man, dearly loved, and we will miss him.
In accordance with Elmer’s wishes, a celebration will be held on Saturday, August 18, 2012, from 10:30am until 12:30pm in the Mountain Room at the TRU Conference Centre. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice. To share memories of Elmer please visit elmerfroese.inmemoriam.ca
Raise a glass, remember a precious moment, give thanks for what you have, and hold on to those in your life whom you cherish. Live your best life: no moment is ever wasted when you’re with those you love.
Well played, Elmer; onto The Finals.