Francis ‘Frank’ Burden

August 10, 1942 – December 2, 2021
In Loving Memory ~ Frank’s life began in wartime England in East Grinstead, Sussex. His father Oswald worked as a chauffeur and mechanic and mother Kathleen (nee Peters) was a cook.
He and his older brother Peter attended school at St. Francis of Assisi where Sister Carmela taught with kindness, but Sister Gabriel ruled with fear. When he was 11 Frank was interviewed for the local Grammar School but was refused entry because they had expelled Peter five years earlier. Instead, he entered St. Wilfred’s in Crawley and school life improved. His teachers suggested he take up teaching as a profession.
He attended St. Mary’s College of Education in Twickenham, spent a year in France as an English Language assistant, then secured a teaching position at his old high school.
Frank decided to immigrate to Canada in 1966 on a one-way ticket. He was hired by the Catholic School District of Grande Prairie, Alberta, “Home of the Trumpeter Swan”, and taught in Valleyview, Sangudo and Cherhill. Times were tough in those communities at the time.
Oil field workers would stay in a community for a few months before following the rigs north, leaving behind fatherless children. First Nations kids struggled with poverty and discrimination. It was a steep learning curve for a young Brit.
After a year in the north, he was offered a teaching post closer to Edmonton, took a summer job at the Calgary Zoo, sold vacuums, ice-fished and duck-hunted, met and married Virginia Harapchuk in 1970, began a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Alberta and established life-long friends.
In 1974 Frank moved to Vanderhoof where he taught at Nechako Valley Secondary and participated in local theatre. Virginia eventually joined him there and their children Francis and Theresa were born in 1975 and 1977.
In 1976 he completed his B.Ed. after attending summer classes at the U. of A. He took an interest in teacher union work, becoming the local BCTF “geographical rep” and president of the Nechako District Teachers Association. In 1979 Frank accepted a position in Nelson at L.V. Rogers Secondary as a teacher-librarian.
He continued his union work, serving as president of the Nelson District Teachers Association as well as chair of the bargaining committee and councillor on the BC College of Teachers. He began a Master of Arts in Librarianship through UVic. He served with Scouts Canada and was blessed again with wonderful friends who shared his interests and enriched his life. It was during his work with the N.D.T.A. that he met his future wife Kathryn Askew.
Both adult children had moved to Alberta by 1995 when Frank and Virginia went their separate ways. Frank moved to Courtenay and married Kathryn. He worked as a teacher-on-call and supervised student teachers for UVic. He volunteered with the Community Justice Centre and catered for NDP election campaigns. He joined the Courtenay Legion, serving as Poppy Chair, President and Service Officer, and gathered more valued friends.
Frank and Kath holidayed in Britain and France, all along the US west coast, to every province but Manitoba and Newfoundland, and all over Vancouver Island. They spent parts of each year at Canim Lake in the Cariboo. Theirs was a loving partnership of over 26 years.
Frank’s son Francis married Nicole Marshall in 2004 in Barbados and lives in Vernon, BC. Frank’s daughter Theresa married Warren Desjardins in Edmonton in 2008 where they live with daughter Lily, 9. Since 2004 Frank was challenged by 5 different cancers. He appreciated the medical professionals who cared for him during this time (Drs. Matous, Wiens, Sandwith, Kimberley, Parimi, Pwint, Almamuhdi, Barkley, Fehlau, Reggler – and their professional colleagues) who helped him live his best life.
He and Kath were grateful for those who created the Canada Health Act, and for the Island Health Home Support program in the Comox Valley. Before his scheduled death Frank said, “This has all been a great adventure. Thanks for the times we’ve shared. I’ve enjoyed every moment. Hugs and best wishes to all.”Obituary

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