On January 4, 2005, after a long and valiant struggle with chronic pain, Phil Froess — dedicated husband and father — peacefully passed away in his sleep at the Multi-Level Care residence with Luella, his loving wife of 44 years, by his side.
Phil was born in Humbolt, Sask. to Albert and Katie Froess. At the age of 11, he and his family moved to a farm near Salmon Arm, BC. Always a hard-worker, Phil moved to Sicamous, BC as a teenager and went to work in a lumber mill to help support his family. In 1952 he met Luella, the love of his life, whom he married on Oct. 8, 1960. Phil arrived in Kitimat in Feb. 1957, to work for Alcan, first with the Fire Department and then in Kildala Pass building roads on the ice for the transmission line. In 1959 he left Alcan for the Shell Service Station where he was employed as a mechanic until 1966. He subsequently worked at Pryde Automotive for a few months before joining the Maintenance Dept. of School District #80 in 1967. Phil thoroughly enjoyed his career with the School District. He was greatly admired by staff and teachers alike for all the extra work he did, especially for the special-needs and elementary school children. In 1996, after many years as the Maintenance Foreman, Phil retired for medical reasons. From that point until his hospitalization, he spent much of his relaxation time planting and caring for his beautiful flower gardens.
Renowned both at work and at home for his ability and willingness to get things done, Phil touched the lives of many throughout his 48 years in Kitimat. He never hesitated to help anyone in need, whether it be volunteering for Parish Council, assisting community groups such as the Cub Scouts and Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, or doing repair and maintenance work for many local families and organizations. His generosity and kindness were limitless.
While Phil spent the last several years of his life in severe pain, he always endured it with great dignity and without complaint. He spent many months in Vancouver-area hospitals, and for the past 17 months he lived in our MLC residence where the nursing staff gently and wonderfully cared for him. Phil’s courage, strength and pleasant demeanor were an inspiration to all who knew him.
Phil is survived by the greatest love of his life — his family. He adored his wife Luella and was very proud of his six sons and their families. Richard and Irene; John and Christon; Michael and Tracey and their children Holly and Ryan; Doug; Don and Maricar and their children Darien, Michael, Sarah, Kevin and Joshua; and Ernie, his youngest son. He is also survived by his siblings Rudy, Dick, Clarence (Marg), Edna (Dave) Jackson, Dave (Beth); his “adopted grandchildren” Dale Bouchard and Akira and Alex Klem; and his many nieces and nephews. Phil will be missed by his family and friends but they are all comforted in knowing that he is with God and no longer in pain.
A vigil service was held for Phil at Christ the King Catholic Church on Fri., Jan. 7. His funeral service took place at the Church on Sat., Jan. 8. There was a memorial service at the MLC residence on Jan. 14. Phil’s ashes will be taken to Humboldt later this year.
The Froess family is grateful to all of their friends who visited and prayed for Phil during his illness, and for their love, support and prayers over the years. They extend their sincerest appreciation to all those who sent cards, flowers and provided such delicious meals and desserts during this difficult time. The family also extends their deepest and heartfelt appreciation to the staffs of the MLC and Acute Care, Dr. Johan Botha, Dr. Derek Carstens, Dr. Jim Mackenzie, Dr. Bill McDonald, and the staff at the St. Paul’s Hospital Pain Clinic for the loving care and comfort they provided Phil during his final years. Thank you also to Father Pier Pandolfo, Arleigh Slanina and Mrs. Miranda for their help and words of solace, and to Christ the King Bereavement Committee for the refreshments provided at the funeral reception.
Donations in memory of Phil Froess may be made to the Kitimat Hospital Auxiliary for the Multi-Level Care Unit.