Frances Ruth Thompson
Life and Work
Frances Ruth Thompson was born to Charles and Mae Buckingham December 24, 1919 in Calgary, Alberta. In July of 1936 Frances graduated with a High School Diploma from the Park Hill School in Calgary, which was situated just behind their family’s home. Her first job was at Lake Louise cleaning rooms for room and board and $10.00 a month. Frances also worked at the Palliser Hotel in downtown Calgary as a chamber maid. During this time Frances met a man whom she believed she would marry someday, however, he was posted overseas in World War II and died in action. This caused her to be very angry and on May 6, 1943 at the age of 23 Frances joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. She was based at Charesholm, Alberta and shortly thereafter she met the man she was meant to be with. Frances married Art Thompson on November 17, 1943. Days after they were married Art received notice that he was to be stationed in Holland. Because Frances was a very feisty and determined woman she immediately preceded to the RCAF Office where she pleaded with them to hold off on Art’s posting overseas, which they granted.
A couple of months later Art left on another posting to England. Frances continued serving with the RCAF at the Claresholm base driving a dispatch truck. On September 27, 1945, she was honorably released and transferred to Class E of the General Section of the Reserve.
In 1945 Art was honorably discharged and returned home after the war. Frances and Art moved to Calgary, Alberta. Their first home was a renovated garage on Frances’ parents place in Park Hill. This is also where their first son Frank was born in May of 1947. Ten days short of the next year their first daughter Donna was born. Then, ten days short of the third year their second daughter Barbara was born. Five years later in August of 1954 their second son Dwain was born. Frances got a big surprise when a month before her 40th birthday in December of 1958 her last son Donald was born. Frances and Art’s family was complete with five children.
Frances and Art lived in various places over the years until they took up residence in Sundre in 1960. Frances was very busy over the next several years traveling to ball games, hockey games and any other functions her children were involved in.
Art retired in 1980 and they purchased a new motor home which they lived in for the next 5 ½ years using it to take various trips to B.C., Eastern Provinces, wintering in California as well as camping trips with family and friends.
Some of Frances’ favorite pastimes were fishing, camping, knitting, quilting, and reading. Above all she loved spending time with her family. She was enthusiastic about participating in all the family functions whether it be riding on an inner tube behind the ski boat or standing at the kitchen sink up to her elbows in dish soap after a family gathering. Frances was also very proud of all her grandchildren, Debora Waldroff (Bartholow), Collin Waldroff, Craig and Gary Thompson and Celena Thompson were her first grandchildren, followed by 12 great grandchildren. Her first and only great granddaughter was born in November of 2002, which made five generations.
Art, Frances’ lifelong companion of 42 years, passed away February 4, 1990. Frances was determined to stay busy stating many times that she refused to stay home and feel sorry for herself. Frances was actively involved in the Sundre Community. Frances participated in the ATCO Gas Torch Relay for the Alberta Senior Games on July 25, 1990 carrying the torch for one kilometer. Frances’ other passions were carpet bowling at the Sundre West Country Centre, which took her to various places competing against other seniors in Alberta. She also loved to play crib at the Centre, one afternoon a week. Another favorite pastime was getting together with her girlfriends for a game of cards. They would take turns planning a meal together or just having coffee and cake after or before their card game. She also enjoyed various bus trips to casinos and mystery tours.
Frances was very active with the Ladies Legion Auxiliary serving meals, selling poppies, working at the Thrift Store or whatever else needed doing to raise money for the community. Frances became a lifetime member of the Ladies Legion Auxiliary in June of 1998. Frances was also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion.
For those who spent time with Frances knew her to be a very strong willed and determined individual. She spent the last six months of her life fighting her illness. After trips to different specialist and many tests she passed away February 07, 2006 undiagnosed.