Obituary of Frances Galtress
In the early morning hours of August 24, 2021, Frances Rose Galtress (nee Kazakoff) peacefully passed away in the arms of her daughter Tanya (Rouble) at Douglas Memorial Hospital. She has been reunited with her parents Jean (nee Kazmir) and Andrew Kazakoff, as well as her brother Richard (Kaz) Kazakoff.
Born in Fort Erie on November 29, 1942, Frances was determined to live life to the fullest and right up until her final days, she was making new friends, offering kindness, cracking jokes, expressing gratitude for the little things (like the first bite of a bowl of sherbet), and always making sure she knew everyone’s first name. Love, family, friendship and humour always came first and it was these qualities she continuously imparted to anyone she shared time with.
Frances’ loyalty, love, support and pride for her daughter Tanya were undeniable. Her telephone messages and pop-in visits were a daily occurrence and if she couldn’t be of help in some way, then she simply offered company by sitting quietly doing Sudoku puzzles or reading a book. She was the kind of Mom who would say “yes” to just about anything that meant time with her daughter; last minute shopping trips, car rides to Hamilton just to buy chips, random “meet me at the movies, you’ve got five minutes” text messages or lunch dates on FaceTime. You name it and, in the blink of an eye, she was always there. Tanya will hold dear and forever remember the belly-laughter shared every single time they were together – “We have to stop Mom! I can’t breathe! My cheeks are hurting!”
It could be said that Frances’ greatest pride and joy were her grandchildren, Lauren, Andrew and Fae. They were the center of her universe and she loved them fiercely. It was so very important to her that they learned to take note of their impact on others, as well as end their days with gratitude. Rarely a day went by that she didn’t ask them to “Tell me something nice you did for someone today” or “What made you happy today?” She loved being an unwavering part of their upbringing, attending all of their school activities and cheering them on in their life endeavours. She was their “Nini”; their biggest and greatest fan.
Frances was blessed with a son-in-law, Edgar Harris, who dearly loved her. She was of great support to him and he would do anything for her. He would often talk her ear off about trees, his backyard gardens or how electricity works and she would listen intently with great curiousity. She loved him very much and was always interested in his work, hobbies and could be counted on to be of the first to praise his accomplishments.
She is survived by her sister-in-law Kathy Kazakoff whom she shared a very close and special bond with. These two always looked forward to “sister” time together and loved sitting on Kathy’s front porch talking and sharing coffee in the early morning hours. Frances will also be dearly missed by her two nieces Kristina and Jennifer who will always remember her super cool birthday and Christmas gifts that were ever just the perfect thing, as well as her two grand-nephews Wesley and Roman. She is also survived by many, many extended family members who couldn’t wait for her to show up at family functions with her world-famous cheesecake strawberries.
Frances had the most incredible circle of friends whom she enjoyed spending time with. She was never home and for good reason – she surrounded herself with people who emanated love, loyalty, creativity, intelligence and humour. These friends came from near and far in her last days to offer their time helping with her care, reading to her, sharing meals and talk, talk, talking – in person or on the phone -about everything and anything. Frances knew she was loved and never alone and for this, she was grateful beyond measure.
Frances will also be missed by all of her “other” children; those friends of Tanya who considered her their second Mom. Her door was always open for a visit and her home a sanctuary to many growing up. She loved them all and would do anything for them, be it a ride to work, a listening ear or simply a hug to make it all better.
Not many knew that Frances was a talented artist. Her creativity was expressed through her hair, fashion and jewellery to most, but she was also a painter and incredible sketch artist. She also loved Pilates, reading, music, movies and animals. She will be greatly missed by all of her pet-sitting fur babies and their parents, as well as her Pilates friends and everyone in the community who happened to be touched by her kindness and friendship - for if you knew Frances it meant you were her friend. From the cafe to the grocery store to the bank and beyond, everywhere Frances went she made sure she knew people by name and, if she was talking to you, then you were the absolute center of her attention.
The majority of Frances’ career was spent as the Shipping Clerk for Fleet Canada in Fort Erie. It was here that she was able to best express and carry out her organizational ideas and list-making skills. She ran her small office on a tight schedule, could type at lightning speed and her desk was always the place where people gravitated to chat and crack jokes.
Frances taught everyone who knew her about loyalty, family and never judging a book by its cover. She forgave quickly, loved fully and would give to others easily and without question. She loved many things, but mostly a good, solid, truthful hug.
Her family cannot express enough gratitude to Dr. Scher for his honesty, kindness and compassion, as well as his sense of humour when it was most needed (and appreciated). The many nurses and PSW’s at Douglas Memorial, as well as through homecare, demonstrated gentle care, respect and incredible compassion bathed in dignity and grace in Frances’ final weeks. Her family will be forever grateful to each and every one of you.
In lieu of flowers, we kindly ask that you donate to an animal rescue or sanctuary of your choosing for Frances adored animals. We have no doubt that the second she crossed over, she was swarmed with kisses and wagging tails of all the cats and dogs she loved over her lifetime.
A celebration of Frances’ life will be determined in the future.