Frances Helen Chew KEEN


Frances Helen Chew

(May 29, 1955 to July 2, 2006)

Surrounded by her family at her home, Frances passed away peacefully on the morning of Sunday, July 2. She fought a four year battle with cancer with strength and dignity.

Frances was born and grew up in Quesnel, where she earned her ARTC in piano in 1974. She attended the University of Victoria, graduating in 1977 with a Bachelor of Music degree and then went on to UBC to obtain her teaching certificate.

She began her teaching career in Campbell River in 1978, where she taught music at Discovery Passage, Sandowne, Willow Point and Evergreen Elementary Schools. More recently, she was a classroom teacher at Evergreen School.

Frances had many enthusiasms, but, above all, music. As a teacher, a singer and then a conductor, she gave her talents generously. Her fervent passion for music inspired the creation of her choir, Island Voices. For the last ten years Frances provided musical inspiration and charismatic leadership to its members and to the community. Among the choir’s many accomplishments were a 2nd place finish at Kathaumixw and quarter-finalist standing in the national CBC choral competition. Always learning, always courageous, Fran challenged herself as much as her choir, earning the honour of studying with renowned conductors Elmer Eisler and Jon Washburn.

To those who knew her, Frances was always joyful, generous, loving and open-hearted. While Fran described herself as stubborn, her family and friends understood her to be deeply determined, persistent and resilient.

Frances was predeceased by her mother, Mildred May Jock Keen and is survived by her loving husband, Gordon Benson, daughters Holly and Erica, father Harry Keen, brother Bob, sister Connie and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Many were blessed with her wonderful friendship; she will be deeply missed.

The family would like to extend special thanks to all their relatives and friends for the love, support and prayers so generously given for the past four years.

A musical celebration of Frances’ life will be held at 2pm on Monday, July 10, at the United Church, 415 Pinecrest St. in Campbell River. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Vancouver Foundation’s Halleran Scholarship Fund which Frances herself recently established in honour of her childhood piano teacher. (Suite 1200, 555 West Hastings St. Box 12132, Harbour Centre,Vancouver, BC V6B 4N6)

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