Fran Petrie

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Fran lived her life for others. Whether it be her husband, her children, her grandchildren, friends or community members her words "I'm so proud of you" was a source of encouragement that kindled a light in those she touched.

Frances Mae Vigus Smith was born on Christmas Eve 1934 in Belleville, Ontario to parents Richard and Jean (Vigus) Smith. She joined older brother Lennie (1930) and later welcomed younger brother Ian (1941). In the late 30's the Smith family relocated to London where, Fran attended Lady Beck and later Sir Adam Beck. The Smith's being a musical family, Fran became an accomplished piano and saxophone player, and sang alto in the church choir. It was also during these years that she began her long "career" of teaching Sunday School. She was also an active member of the Canadian Girls in Training (CGIT) including a leader at CGIT Camp Kitchigami.

After grade 10, Fran and family moved to Ingersoll. It was here, at Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute, that Fran was introduced to John Gordon Petrie. In fact, the two were also neighbours, and apparently, could see each other's bedroom windows! Fran and John soon began seeing each other and, as they say, the rest is history. In 1953, Fran enrolled in London Teachers College. At the same time, John was attending the University of Western Ontario and they carpooled to school daily. Fran began teaching Grade 2 at Victory Memorial Public School in Ingersoll, then on Saturday October 30, 1954 (Halloween night) they were married. Debby's arrival (1955) made short shift of Fran's teaching career. Within 18 months John had graduated UWO, and on his fourth day of teaching at WDHS, Sue was born (1956). With the addition of Dick (1961), Wendy (1964) and a basset hound named Jock, the family was complete.

Fran kept busy with her young family but still found time to teach Sunday School, attend UCW and get a Seniors program at the church up and running, where Dick and Wendy were constant entertainment for the seniors! Life long friendships were made with local families, especially the family of Grace and Tom Wardlaw.

Summers always meant spending time at the family cottage. At the age of 16, Fran and her father cleared the land to make room for the original cabin on Bogie's Beach north of Goderich. "The Bigge Wattee" was a true family affair, as all of Fran's aunts, uncles and cousins from Detroit and Windsor were always welcome. Although time at Lake Huron was nice, Fran's true summer vacation came at Golden Lake, a fishing resort near Killaloe. Every year on the 2nd Saturday in August (the day after John finished summer school), the Petries would head out. Here she did not have to cook or clean and therefore had an opportunity to sit back and truly relax with her family.

In 1968, John left his position as head of the science department in Waterford and moved his family to Chesley, where he became the vice principal at Chesley District High School. Fran helped her children through the transition and then did what she did best, got out and helped others. Over the next 50 years, Fran helped countless people and organizations. She volunteered her time with the Blood Donor Clinic, Cancer Society (both 35 yrs.), high school curling,  local figure skating club, was a board member of Bruce-Grey Children Services, a 4-H leader and a palliative care volunteer.

Because Fran's faith held an important place in her life, after arriving in Chesley she quickly found a second home at St. John's United Church. Here she was their representative to Presbytery for over 20 years attending many conferences. She was a member of Queen's Bush Rural Ministry, Chesley Ministerial, and played a pivotal role in the yearly vacation bible school. When not helping with the youth, she was visiting seniors. There was always work to do, and Fran was always there to help!

In time Fran's children moved away from home, one further than other. Despite the distance, in retirement Fran and John took almost annual trips to New Zealand. The other three children started their families.  This provided another outlet for all of her love. Not only did Fran play with her grandchildren...and, in time, great-grandchildren...but she wanted to be a part of everything they did - from horses, to hockey, to dance, to karate, she would always be there with the biggest smile. They knew she always believed in them, from the smallest moments to the life changing ones. She was an integral part of all of their lives and none will ever look at tiny plastic swords and not think of Granny lunches.

She also had a passion for reading. No day was complete without reading the Owen Sound Sun Times cover to cover or picking up an edition of the Chesley Enterprise. Fran always tried to educate herself further through reading and always enjoyed picking up a Hello, People, McLean's or Reader's Digest. She also enjoyed sharing her love of reading with others. She constantly read to her grandchildren and great-children throughout their youth.

In her free time Fran enjoyed experimenting with a variety of crafts. She also loved her soaps, especially Coronation St., watching curling and keeping up with the news. When it came to food, chocolate was a staple in her diet, with "everything else just a filler". On more than one occasion, Fran had to go out and re-buy chocolate for Easter, Halloween and Christmas gifts as she had sampled the first purchase!  She loved sending cards that always included her beautiful handwriting. Fran loved bright colours, particularly reds and oranges and enjoyed sporting a new hat, purse or pair of gloves. She had a collection of Hummel figurines as well as collections of fossils and beach glass from the cottage.

 "I am so proud of you…" was more than just a phrase to Fran, it was her legacy. By seeing the best in each person she influenced people's lives for the better. Giving to others was its own reward. She will be dearly missed.

Sadly, Fran was diagnosed with leukemia just prior to Christmas. She remained upbeat and positive throughout her brief illness and passed away, surrounded by her loving family, at Grey Bruce Health Services, Owen Sound on Friday, January 18, 2019 in her 85th year.

Beloved wife of John. Loving mother of Debora Hickling of London, Susan (John) Schlorff of Bruce Township, Richard (Gail) of Kitchener and Wendy (Kelvin) Bentley of Napier, New Zealand. She will live on in the hearts and minds of her grandchildren Amy (Corey), Lindsay (Dave), Sara, Kevin (Ashlee), Cameron, Matthew and great-grandchildren Hannah, Payten, Tristen, Carter and Leigha. Fran will be fondly remembered by her brother Lennie (Helen) Smith of Detroit and sister-in-law Cheryle Smith of Woodstock. She was predeceased by her brother Ian Smith and her parents Richard and Jean (Vigus) Smith.

Visitation will be held at St. John's United Church, Chesley (123 2nd Ave. S.E.) on Friday from 2 - 4  and 7 - 9 p.m. where a funeral service celebrating Fran's life will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Chesley Medical Clinic (cheques payable to Municipality of Arran-Elderslie), Chesley Hospital Foundation or St. John's United Church would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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Dwayne Frook
February 10, 2019
A truly wonderful lady. I was saddened to hear of her passing. My deepest sympathy to all.
Patrizia Piraino
January 29, 2019
My sincerest condolences, Gail and Dick. Keeping you all in my thoughts.
Jo & Wayne Sawyer
January 26, 2019
Gail, Dick and your family.
Please accept our condolences and best wishes
Jo and Wayne Sawyer
Bill Walker
January 26, 2019
Dear John and Wendy,
Regrettably I was not able to attend the visitation yesterday or the service today due to previous work commitments. Please know I am thinking of you, and Wendy, please give my best to Kelvin. (Billy Koeslag and I were hoping to make it, but schedules just could not work.) Our thoughts are with you.
With Sincere Sympathy,
Bill Walker
Marcia McGilveary
January 26, 2019
Kristin and I were so sad to hear about your mother. She was a truly lovely lady.
Anne Goeden
January 25, 2019
To Sue and John and Family

So sorry to hear about the loss of Fran. Sending big hugs.
Ken & Donna Barfoot
January 25, 2019
Our deepest sympathy to all Fran's family.
Fran was an intricate part of the Chesley Ministerial , and she is , and will be missed .Her love and sincerity was always for the Chesley and the people who needed assistance. Her faith was strong in God.
Amy Doofenbaker
January 25, 2019
Dear John and Petrie family. My sympathy to you in the loss of Fran. Fran was a wonderful, warm, kind, spunky and inspirational woman. I will miss her friendly smile and our chats. Sending a hug.
Jeff & Bobbi Jo Vandervoort
January 24, 2019
Please accept our deepest condolences. Fran was a wonderful person whose influence will live on in the lives of all she touched. She introduced me to the game of curling for which I will never forget. Till we meet again "Kiddo"
Steve and Saundra Martin
January 24, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Fran was a truly beautiful woman, inside and out. She always made you feel special.
Terry Lawson
January 24, 2019
My sincerest condolences to the Petrie Family. Fran will be greatly missed by all that had the privilege of meeting her.
Wilma Van Dyk
January 24, 2019
Deepest sympathy to both of you Dick & Gail and your entire family. I never knew your Mom but she sounds like she was an incredible woman. Even though she always said that she was so proud of everyone, there is no doubt that all of you must be very proud of her. All the best to all of you as you remember all of the special times and memories that you made with her. Hugs.
Gary and Cathy Lund
January 24, 2019
Our hearts go out to the family in the loss of their loved one. Fran was a special lady and will be greatly missed by many. It was always a pleasure to have a little chat with her. My Mom also sends her deepest sympathies. She will miss her neighbour. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all.
Cathy Klie
January 23, 2019
Our deepest sympathies to you and your family. Thinking of you during this difficult time.
Cathy and Rob
Dave and Jan Sinclair
January 23, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers to John, Sue and John and the Petrie family as you mourn Fran's passing. Keep close the memories of her in your hearts .
Carol Rankie
January 22, 2019
Dick, Gail and family,
So sorry for your loss.
Sending hugs.
Jack and Ellen Cavill
January 22, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers to to the Petrie family, Fran was always a welcome face at the blood donor clinic and we enjoyed chatting with her, she will be missed
Merv and Brenda Misch
January 22, 2019
Our sympathies on the loss of your dear mom and grandmother.Thinking of you at this difficult time
Bill and Patti Koeslag
January 22, 2019
Our deepest condolences to Wendy , Kelvin and the entire Petrie family. Sincerely, Bill and Patti Koeslag
Susanne (Fidler) Leifso
January 22, 2019
My condolences to the PETRIE family...Our community will remember
FRAN as a lady with a BIG HEART, BIG SMILE & treated you royally like one of her own. She will forever be one of my special role models, who taught us to live life to the fullest & love others. Sweet memories to cherish! One of a kind....
Jo-Anne Hatt
January 22, 2019
Lindsey and family so sorry to hear about your grandmother. She will always be with you. Memories are wonderful to have
Ross Lamont
January 22, 2019
Sue and Family. Condolences for your loss. Ross
Roger Jacklin
January 22, 2019
Deepest condolences John and Sue on the loss of your mother
Glenys Johnson
January 21, 2019
Deepest Sympathy Sue for the loss of your Mom. My thoughts and prayers go out to your entire family.
Barry Ribey & Family
January 21, 2019
Our sincere condolences. Enjoyed our conversations!
Rick and Joan Denomy
January 21, 2019
Our deepest sympathy to John and Family. I always enjoyed visiting with Fran, she would always make you smile and we'd share a chuckle. She always called me "Kid". :) She will be missed.
Jennifer and Michael Goodall.
January 21, 2019
Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May they now find peace and happiness in the time they had with there mother ,wife,sister,grandmother,and great grandmother. You will be sadly missed buy everyone. May God bless your family in this time of sadness.

Love the goodalls.
Donna McKeag
January 21, 2019
Susan and family, I am so sorry to hear the news about your mother..Thinking of you at this time. Donna.
Ron & Nancy McGillivray
January 21, 2019
Sincere sympathy to Sue, John and family on the passing of your mother and mother-in-law.
Jen Morin
January 21, 2019
Our sincerest sympathy. Fran will truly be missed. She was loved by so many. To John and family know that even tho her prance will be missed she is always with each and everyone who got to know her.
January 21, 2019
My deepest sympathies to you and your family John. My heart is broken today seeing the passing of dear Frances. I’m going to miss her and her warm hugs tremendously. She is a beautiful soul. Much love to you all. Xoxo
Brad & Jayne Tibbo
January 21, 2019
So sorry to hear Fran passed away. She was a very kind and caring lady that would take the time to stop and chat anywhere you would meet her????????
Deepest sympathy to John, Debora, Susan, Dick, Wendy & families. Fran will be dearly missed by all❤️❤️
Amy and Chris Stephen
January 21, 2019
Our deepest sympathies to all of you at this time. Fran was always a welcoming member of our church, and always had something positive or supportive to say. She always called me (Amy) Honey. We are thinking of all of you. She will be missed by many.
Cathy McGirr
January 21, 2019
So sorry to hear the news of your Mother's passing. I hope all your wonderful memories bring you comfort.
Heather Callaghan
January 21, 2019
Sue, thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.. big hugs.
Joyce McComb Black
January 21, 2019
Sincere sympathy to John and all the Petrie family. Fran will always have a special place in my heart. We had a really nice chat the last time I saw her. Hugs.
Enza Hilton
January 21, 2019
Sending our deepest condolences.
Thinking of you all at this difficult time.
Doug, Enza, Victoria & Olivia Hilton
Mike Goodall
January 21, 2019
Jen and I are so sorry for your families. God bless you all.
Pamela Lembke
January 21, 2019
My condolences to all the family. Fran was a kind sole and she will be dearly missed.
Paul Lembke
January 21, 2019
My deepest condolences to John and the family. Fran was my favorite client when I had the clinic. Always had a positive word and hug when u needed it..She will be missed.. Til we meet again my dear friend.
Kevin and Christine Buoy
January 20, 2019
Our deepest sympathy to John, Debora, Susan and John, Dick and Gail, and Wendy and Kelvin and your family’s...Kevin and I will remember Fran with a smile as she always made us happy just in talking and being with her... our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Deb Sturdevant
January 20, 2019
My heart goes out to your family. May your special memories bring you peace and comfort.
Chesley Ministerial Association
January 20, 2019
Past and present members of the Ministerial send you their condolences. Fran was our treasurer for longer than any of us can remember. She was one of the welcoming faces at VBS; and she was involved in taking the nursing home services. Others will take on these jobs, but no one will replace Fran.
April Wilson
January 20, 2019
My deepest sympathy to the family she was a lovely lady she was great lady at the blood donor clinic and enjoy her visit from vacation bible school
Wayne Cindy Cronkwright
January 20, 2019
Deepest sympathy to Fran,s family. She was a lovely lady to talk to on the street and when there was outside church service. She would always ask how you are doing we are going to miss you.
Carol M. Jarvis
January 20, 2019
Deepest sympathy to Fran's family. She was a loving person to know.
Dawn and Robert Brown
January 19, 2019
Our sincerest sympathy. I remember her so well from days at the cottage and a few visits in Chesley. We are thinking of you all. Xoxoxoxo

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Nathan, I can’t tell you how much your care and support has meant to my whole family. You obviously take great pride in the service you provide. I can’t think of anything you could have done to help us more. You, your mom and Terri-Ann make an excellent team. I had so many compliments on the set up and the service. I sing your praises to everyone who asks. Keep up the fantastic work.

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It was exceptional how Nathan opened our hearts and minds to give info; then transferred into so many ‘on target’ ways. Also very comforting and understanding to us all. Many comments, impressed, liked all that was done, respectful family-like atmosphere at all times. Especially kind to young members of family as well. Above and totally beyond expectation – Thanks.

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Dear Nathan, I cannot say thank you enough for everything you and the rest of the Rhody Family Funeral Home team done for our family with Mom's passing. From the moment you got to Mom's house your professionalism was second to none. You listened and read between the lines yet missed nothing, every little touch was simply perfect, you left nothing undone, your care and compassion to ensure our family made Mom proud one more time, and for that I am forever grateful. You took a very difficult time for us and made it as simple and stress free for us as humanly possible. Nathan you should be very proud of yourself and the rest of your team. You have definitely set the bar very high for any other funeral home in the province to follow. Again thank you

Sincerely, Deb and Doug

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All the worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players." Rhody Family Funeral Home takes this and runs with it in an intricate and tasteful manner. The beautiful funeral home sets the stage to reflect the deceased's individual personality. Nathan's artistic ability is only surpassed by his compassion, sincerity and understanding. He goes above and beyond the required duties. His staff is second to none. Darlene Rhody soft spoken and sympathetic and Morris Emke gentlemanly and obliging. Pastor Terri-Ann is like no other with her comforting words of wisdom and encouragement and so compassionate. Her service was nothing short of beautiful. A very heartfelt thank you to Nathan and his staff for making an unpleasant experience bearable. And hats off to Rhody Family funeral home for sending dad -Ross Hammond off in the fashion he deserved. From my mom and my siblings our sincerest gratitude.

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