Born in 1940, Luella came to Kitimat at the young age of 20. Never looking back, Luella married and raised six sons in our small town. Always being an advocate for volunteering, Luella has worn many hats for many fundraisers and continues to do so. (Photo Supplied)

Born in 1940, Luella came to Kitimat at the young age of 20. Never looking back, Luella married and raised six sons in our small town. Always being an advocate for volunteering, Luella has worn many hats for many fundraisers and continues to do so. (Photo Supplied)

In Our Valley: Luella Froess

Kitimat’s #1 church fundraiser and volunteer queen

Volunteer advocate Luella Froess knows a thing or two about being part of a community while fundraising for causes she believes in. 

Born in small-town Sicamous, Luella moved to Burnaby in 1957 and lived there for three years completing business school and working for CNR.

After living in Burnaby, Luella moved to Kitimat and married her childhood boyfriend from Sicamous at the young age of 20.

Raising six kids between the ages of 22-29, Luella was never afraid of motherhood and all the work that comes with it.

“I loved being a mom it was lots of fun,” Luella said.”We’d take our kids to the beach, we’d have picnics at Hirsch Creek; there was a lot of walking, I’m pretty sure I wore out two sets of buggy wheels.”

With support from her mother and sisters, Luella worked for many different companies throughout the summers while raising her six boys.

“My sisters were six and eight years younger than me so during their summer holidays they would come up for a couple of months and babysit for me.”

“The summers I wasn’t pregnant I would go back and work for [Alcan] just as summer relief for different offices,” Luella said. “Then in 1973 I worked part-time in the hospital and I stayed there working for our general surgeon and pediatrician.”

Luella’s grateful for the Kitimat community and the help they offered when she was raising her kids. She was very close with her neighbours who were also raising young children and going through the same steps of life.

“In those years I was lucky because I could stay at home and had so many friends who were all raising kids at the same time.”

Always been a people person, Luella got into volunteer work and community services for a number of reasons, but one of her main driving factors was to stay close to her kids.

“I was involved in figure skating because my sons were in it, we were also band parents, I was also involved in sea cadets because of my sons,” Luella said. “We tried to be involved in the things our kids were involved in because they needed fundraising, and if you didn’t have volunteers [the fundraising] didn’t happen.”

Partaking in all school and community fundraisers, Luella built strong relationships with other kind-hearted people like herself.

“I met dozens of people through volunteer groups because a lot of us were stay-at-home moms so we met through [girl guides], school functions, and other events, […] And that was the greatest part about [volunteering], all the beautiful people you’d meet in Kitimat,” Luella said. “There were so many great volunteers who did so much behind the scenes that people didn’t realize.”

However, building relationships and keeping strong connections with her family weren’t the only reasons for Luella’s volunteering history, she thought it was important to stand up for the things you believe in.

“We spent several years fighting our government to keep our orthopedic programs at Kitimat central. They very much wanted to move it to Terrace but we fought very hard to keep it here.”

As giving as Luella is, she says that she could not have been involved in the community as she was without the help of a very supportive family and friends.

“Because of the support I had from my husband and sons that I was able to be involved in the community and to work at jobs I loved – I have been very blessed to have such a wonderful family and friends in Kitimat over the past 60 years.”

Lector at many masses and parish council retiree, Luella is a woman with many stories and experiences who is still heavily involved with the churches.

Even with all the community, church, and school fundraisers she’s hosted, Luella still finds time to volunteer for the Catholic Women’s League and the Christmas Hamper Appeal.

Other community organizations Luella has worked for over the years are Girl Guides, Kitimat Community Help Agency, B.C. Heart Association, March of Dimes, Parents’ Advisory Committee of Whitesail Elementary and Mount Elizabeth Secondary School, Band Parents Association, Snow Valley Figure Skating Club/Precision Team, Christ the King Parish Council, Catholic Women’s League, Kenamo Completion Project, Secretary of Kitimat General Hospital Committee, Mountain View Lodge Family Council, Kitimat Hospital Advisory Group, Heritage Committee, and more.