Our uncle, brother and friend, Richard Roy Frans, passed away suddenly at his home in Meleb, Manitoba on January 8, 2022 at the age of 67. Richard was predeceased by his parents Aaje (nee Goet) and Jacob Frans, his sister Elsje, brother Peter, niece Deborah Gringhuis and great nephews Brody Landry and River Eidse. He will be missed by his siblings, Nick (Dini), Casey, Teo (Ena), Nina (Gerald), Ron (Linda), Jake (Hetty), Betty (Albert), John (Norma Jean), Mary Ann (Bill) and his many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews and friends.
Richard was born, on a strawberry farm in Toledo, Ontario, the third youngest of 11 to a Dutch/Canadian family, where he remembered endless chores and not much play. He found his school years academically easy but terribly boring and after a brief and unsuccessful attempt as an Electrolux vacuum cleaner salesman (he sold two- one to his parents) he eventually left home to work at the nickel mine in Thompson, Manitoba. After becoming an electrician, he moved to Tungsten, Northwest Territories to work at the mine there. Later, seeking more southern shores and following an entrepreneurial urge he moved down to Winnipeg, Manitoba where he opened a tanning salon. When business in Winnipeg did not prove profitable, he did not despair but moved on to Ft. McMurray, Alberta where he alternated his time with winters in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2018 he purchased land in Meleb, Manitoba to enable him to explore sustainable living and farming. He planned to continue wintering in Thailand but was prevented by the Covid 19 pandemic.
Richard loved music and is remembered for his singing and piano playing. He could talk endlessly about his ideas about the world, religion, politics, nutrition and the environment. This passion never wavered even in the face of interruptions or disagreements. But, true to his nature of many, sometimes contradictory talents and interests, he was also a good listener. He loved to travel, from Mexico to Europe, from Asia to the Great White North. His travels always included stops to see friends and siblings, all of whom will miss his visits filled with red wine and conversation.
Richard’s faith was a big part of his life both as a comfort and as a struggle. He spoke about his journey of connecting his beliefs with his identity as a gay man. He spoke of his challenges finding acceptance in the Christian community and, at times, within his own family. Somehow with his perseverance, his humor, his good will, his ability to forgive, and, he would probably add, “his good looks” he eventually found his way through.
At the end of his life Richard was exploring ways of sustainable farming, experimenting with soil drainage and living in sustainable ways on his land in Meleb, Manitoba. He was tenacious, living off the grid through some of the coldest spells, shoveling kilometers of trails to keep himself fit. Often spending weeks alone during the pandemic but keeping in touch with family and friends through zoom and visits when restrictions allowed. He had many unfinished plans and dreams, some of which he left documented at his property. He wrote: “To prove my understanding about putting carbon into the soil using various means such as 1. Compost 2. Wood chips 3. Bio char 4. Cattle + other herbivores to educate others. Principles I will abide by *1. No GMO *2. No synthetic fertilizers *3.No pesticides, herbicides, etc. *4. No antibiotics for any animal to be used for food. “
Rest in peace, Richard. We are inspired by your life and so glad to have known you.
Memorial to be held in Summer 2022 at his property in Meleb, Manitoba.
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