OBITUARY: Fran Marie Haynes
‘Resident auntie’ will be missed
BY SAGE BIRCHWATER
Tribune Staff Writer
For more than a quarter of a century, Fran Marie Haynes, took on the role of “resident auntie” and surrogate mother and grandmother to a hoard of families and kids growing up in Tatlayoko Valley.
She moved there in 1976 to be with Harry Haynes, and two years later they got married. With Fran in attendance, Haynes household became the centre of the community for many years. With an extension from the valley’s only telephone running into their house from the radio pay phone booth located outside, Fran and Harry took numerous messages for everyone in the valley.
In the 1970s and 1980s residents in the valley were linked by a CB radio network and Harry and Fran would send out CB messages whenever someone received an important phone call. The Haynes CB handle was “Coffee House”.
Fran was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on September 22, 1925, and was raised on a farm with her two brothers and two sisters in nearby Creguer, Saskatchewan. She was 16 years old when she moved to Vancouver and at 18 years old she enlisted in the Armed Services where she served as a cook. After the war she remained a veteran member of the Royal Purple.
In 1950 Fran married Bruce Farquharson and they had four children, David (1953), Brenda (1954), Douglas (1957), and Anne (1958). In 1965 Fran and her family moved to Williams Lake where Bruce got a job as a millright. But when Bruce died suddenly in 1972, Fran was left to fend for herself and her teenage children.
Fran worked in a number of places in Williams Lake including the Famous Café, the Chilcotin Inn, the Lakeview Hotel and the SuperValue. While working in the Famous Café Fran met many people from the Chilcotin, and that’s where she met Harry Haynes.
When Fran and Harry were married, Harry was surprised how many of his Chilcotin friends already knew his new bride. “She had served them too at the Famous Café,” he used to laugh.
In the summer of 1985 the job of running the Tatlayoko post office came up for bid and Fran was successful in becoming the new postmistress. Harry got the job of transporting the mail from Tatla Lake into Tatlayoko Valley and the Haynes’ constructed an addition at the rear of their house for the post office. On mail days the Haynes household was a busy, social place, where Fran always had the coffee pot on and a limitless supply of home-baked cookies.
Once regular telephone lines were strung into the valley in the late 1980s, the CB communication system all but disappeared and the need for the pay phone extension into the house was unnecessary. But thanks to the post office the Haynes’ household remained the “Coffee House” centre of the community.
Finally in 2002, old age and health concerns forced Harry and Fran to relocate to the Lower Mainland where they could be closer to Fran’s kids and grandchildren and where they could be cared for.
On August 1, 2005, Fran passed away quietly at the Kinsman Place Lodge in Surrey. She was predeceased by Harry on July 10, 2004, and by her son, Doug Farquharson on June 18, 2005.
She is survived and missed by her son David Farquharson, daughters Anne Farquharson and Brenda Simpson, and seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, and sisters Arlene Avender in Kelowna and Kathy Armstrong in Binscarth, Manitoba.
A service for Fran will be held in Tatlayoko Valley Mill Site in late September, where her ashes will be placed next to Harry’s at the Tatla Lake and Tatlayoko gravesites.
A fitting epitaph for Fran is that she was a warm, loving, caring woman who was always willing to lend a hand to a friend or a stranger. There are many witnesses who can attest to that. The world truly was made a better place for her being in it.