Memories of Nancy
Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Alan Fry, Nancy’s older brother,
and I am honoured to be your Master of Ceremonies today at her Celebration
First, some introductions…. I would like to acknowledge our other sibling, younger brother Tim Fry, who I will ask to help me if I start to blubber too much.
I would also like to introduce my wife - and Nancy’s sister-in-law - Gail and our daughter - and Nancy’s niece - Mary. Nancy’s other niece - on the Fry side of the family - Tim’s daughter, Elizabeth, lives in Scotland and understandably is not present today. My best friend - outside of my 2 girls - Jim McCormack who is also Mary’s Canadian Godfather, is also here from Kelowna, and he has been a tremendous pillar of support to us. Sport, as he is better known, was a good friend of Nancy’s throughout her adult life and we all have shared great times together. Also here are Nancy’s good friends she met during her nursing training, Rhonda and Karen, and our mutual friends, Bill Dumont and Ron and Nancy Bronstein, from up-Island. There are so many more friends and relatives that I have not mentioned and I hope we all get to meet during this Celebration.
On Barry’s side of the family, I would of course like to welcome Nancy’s husband and best friend Barry Rinas; his daughters Susan and Sarah; and many members of his family who have traveled from afar to be here.
Almost a member of her family and also here today, is a person I am honoured to welcome and introduce - Mrs. Olive Minnings, Nancy’s dear and long-time friend. Olive has done so much to help Nancy through some rough times and we are all extremely grateful for her loving support and optimism. Olive will want to say a few words later in the Celebration.
I would encourage you to glance throughout the afternoon at the nice collage of Nancy photos that Barry and his family have compiled and also to have a look at the scrapbook that Nancy’s niece, Mary, and sister-in-law, Gail, prepared. Some nice photos of Nancy, friends and family spanning many years from birth to the present are highlighted. Check out the wall along the side of the house for many more photos and remembrances of Nancy.
I would like to thank everyone for coming here today. Not only for Nancy, but also for each other. I think it makes us feel better to see how much Nancy was loved and how many people cared enough to be here. I know of several people from our family who wanted to be here but couldn’t make it. I spoke to our cousin, Barbie Maddux, in New Jersey, recently and she asked me to send her love to everyone, and I indicated that I would read some words she sent to the Barry and family. In addition, other friends of the family, Len and Yvette Fowler and Hazel Stewart, now living in Sidney, also are thinking of us.
We are gathered to celebrate the life of Nancy Margaret Fry and the contributions that she made to all of our lives. We are here to embrace our sadness, acknowledge our love for her, and share some thoughts, feelings, stories and tributes about someone who affected many of us in profound and enduring ways. In doing so, I am confident that we can begin to ease the pain and move on to a brighter outlook. By easing this pain, however, I am reminded of the advice from the late Dana Reeves, wife of Christopher Reeves, when she wisely said that the only cure for grief is grieving.
Being an informal gathering, there is no real structure to what we are going to do. I will read a couple of things and then turn the floor over to whoever wants to speak. When we have run out of things to say, we will eat!! Nancy would have wanted – nay, she would have INSISTED – that we have lots of food here. As we all know, she loved to entertain and loved the potluck way of hosting an affair.
I would like to begin by reading a poem by Mary E. Fry – no, not my daughter Mary Fry - but another of the same name. I chose this as I think it symbolizes Nancy’s life in a way she would like to be remembered.
I am not there. I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken
In the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I did not die.
I would now like to read a letter written by Nancy’s cousin, Barbie, who lives in New Jersey. This provides some insight into Nancy’s early years:
I was very sad to hear of the passing of my cousin Nancy. I have many fond memories of the time I spent with her when we were children. Most summers my family made the very long car trip from Belleville Ontario to Winnipeg to visit our grandparents. A big feature of those trips for me was getting together with the Fry family (Aunt Hattie, Nancy's mom, was my mother's sister). Nancy was two years younger than me, and I expect Alan was born a year or two before me. Tim is about the same age as my younger sister Shirley. We had such good times... simple childhood things, a trip to the zoo, playing in the pool at the nearby park. Nancy was quite the little imp, full of energy, on the go constantly, mischievous... she was a real character! But you know, the thing about
her was that smile she had. You knew that it came from deep within her.
I regret that my living on the east coast and Nancy being on the west coast has kept us apart throughout our adult lives. I am so thankful that my husband Roy and I made a trip to Victoria about ten years ago and got together with Nancy, Alan, Gail and Mary for a very lovely lunch.
My realizing that I have lost forever the opportunity to get to know Nancy jolts me into the recognition of how important it is to keep in touch with the people who matter in our lives. Alan has consistently made the effort over the years to keep in touch with my parents. I intend to do a better job from my end.
Please accept my offer of sympathy at this time of great loss. I hope that some day in the future Roy and I will visit western Canada again and have the opportunity to meet you.
Now, it’s my turn…. For me to expound upon childhood memories of Nancy - involving Tim and I - would encompass me speaking here until well after sundown. Instead, I have gathered together a couple of my fondest recollections of Nancy and our growing up together in the Fry household. Being the oldest of 3 siblings with 3 years in age apart perhaps allows me the arguable advantage of a wise, older-brother perspective.
From a very early age, Nancy loved 5 things - dancing, singing, acting, cooking and camping, not necessarily in that order.
Each summer, Mum and Dad would plan a trip to far off places in Canada and the States and we would all go camping for 2 to 3 weeks. In spite of Nancy being outnumbered by Tim and I as the only girl, she would eagerly participate in our games of forest rangers, chasing the bad guys on our campstools, which we morphed into make-believe horses. We even had our own nicknames for these adventures – Tim was Jackie Murphy, I was “Brown” and Nancy was “Williams.” Our playtime fantasies transformed us to pirate ships, horse trails and medieval battlefields. We really did have tons of fun - we even agreed to cost share in comic books from our pre-holiday strawberry picking profits, although Nancy’s favourites were “Betty and Veronica”, while Tim and I favoured Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge. Later during those early summers, growing up, we would take the train with Mum to Winnipeg to visit Grandma and Grandpa and we continued our games together.
Nancy’s thespian and singing career began with a lead role in “Little Mary Sunshine” while in middle school and peaked with the unforgettable lead role in “Annie Get Your Gun”, during her final year in high school. Her acting talents, coupled with her dancing skills, learned through “Betty Tufts School of Dance”, made her the perfect candidate for the lead. Len and Yvette Fowler, very good friends of the family - and now in their 80s’ - recall that she was literally “born for the role” after seeing her performance so many years ago.
We all grew older, Nancy’s now famous cooking skills became well honed by helping Mum cook dinner and prepare picnics - she even worked at A&W part-time during high school. I remember going in there when she was a car-hop and ordering fish and chips without the fish or a Papa Burger without the meat, just to bug her, but of course she was unfazed by my foolishness. Later, the make-believe became less and less: it was time for Nancy to enter the real world and she entered UBC for a quick 2-year stint in the late 60s. This was only a precursor to her next activity - TRAVELING. And boy did Nancy ever enter that part of her life with a wonderful sense of zeal and purpose! Having taken a year of religious studies, a year of Italian and 2 years of Hebrew at UBC, she embarked on her new life packed abroad with a great knowledge of languages and the ways of various religions. I recall in 1971 meeting her in Barcelona, where we later traveled together to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, that she said she was planning to stay and work on an Israeli Kibbutz. This she did for over 6 months before returning home - AFTER working a summer at an English resort - to begin her studies as a Registered Nurse at Vancouver General Hospital.
During this period, Nancy chose to specialize and work as a nurse on the Burn Unit at VGH. She spent countless hours tending to, helping and supporting patients with serious burn injuries. Nancy was the quintessential caregiver and professional, displaying her caring, generous, feeling and supportive nature to those needing it most, under the most trying of conditions. We all know that Nancy practiced these traits throughout her life, in all aspects of her life.
But, the traveling bug was still in her, and the 1976 Olympic games were on the horizon in Montreal. Hearing of an organized bike trip to the Olympics, off she went in the early summer of ’76 riding from Vancouver to Montreal with her rickety old bike, no formal bike clothing and a very early rendition of the bicycle helmet. No surprisingly, her bike broke down nearby, in the town of Hope, BC – and to shows what an inspiration Nancy was to peoples – she convinced the bike repair shop owner to join the pack to bike to Montreal. Well, Nancy made it, the bike repairman made it, and, during a planned event at the Olympic Stadium, Nancy and the crew rode in to be greeted by a thunderous applause. Wow, what an adventure! I remember how proud I was of her and this wonderful achievement, a pride I was to feel again and again as she continued her life’s adventures.
After again returning to her home-town and then spending some time working and traveling in the southern US, Nancy again entered UBC to continue her studies, this time to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1982. But, did that stop her from traveling – no way!…after graduation, off she went to cycle around New Zealand for a few months!
But, the true highlight of her life was to occur 4 years later when she met her future husband and best friend, Barry. Fresh from working in Campbell River with First Nations, she had just been appointed to a Zone Director position in Victoria. She then won a temporary appointment as Medical Officer on the Martha L. Black, a brand new Coast Guard Icebreaker. She was so proud (boy, so were we!) sporting her spanking new Officer’s uniform on the gangway as she left that first day. Two historic voyages followed in 1986 and 1988, with the second circumnavigating the continent of North America. Barry was the senior engineer on both voyages.
Over time, their love blossomed and, after Nancy retired from her senior federal position to which she returned after the Martha L. Black excursions, she and Barry opened the “Wayward Navigator” Bed and Breakfast. True to its nautical theme and, created before the movie “Titanic”, she and Barry built this modest B&B to the magnificent award-winning operation we see here today.
I will leave remembrances of her later life to others in the audience. However, before I turn the program over to you to add your words about her, I would like to finish my contribution to the Celebration of Nancy’s Life by paraphrasing from the 1997 eulogy to Diana, Princess of Wales, by her brother, Charles, ninth Earl Spencer. His words could not express any more clearly than what I feel at this time and how they describe Nancy to a tee:
“…We give thanks for the life of a woman I am so proud to be able to call my sister: the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Nancy, whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds….”
So long, Nancy…you are with Mum and Dad now, helping Mum cook dinner and receiving lots of helpful words of wisdom from Dad. You will always be with us.
And now, I would like you to step up and share some thoughts, stories and memories of Nancy. Perhaps you could begin by giving your name and how you met Nancy, followed by any words you wish to share.
Sarah and Susan, I believe you both want to say a few words. Barry’s daughters have both included a nice memorial of Nancy on the Wayward Navigator website under “Memories of Nancy” which they will read.
Sarah, would you like to begin, please…
I Remember Nancy
-"Fritha" Fry the amazing chicken wing chef!
-going to Thetis Lake for a swim and buying popsicles
-Disneyworld, Splash Mountain and how utterly soaking wet she got
-snacking on left-over Fettuccini Alfredo in line for the India Jones ride
-jumping into bed on a Saturday morning and watching Coronation Street with her and "Teddy"
-the executive producer, taste-tester, and live audience of Susie and Sarah’s weekend cooking shows
-her awesome taste in quirky television shows from WWF wrestling to the Trailer Park Boys
-how proud she was of Sue and I when we brought home our amazing partners Scott and James
-going to the movie theatre countless times only to find out Nancy fell asleep in the first 5 minutes. She claimed it was one of the best places to take a nap!
-her stories of when she traveled around the world and the adventures that came with it!
-tzatziki and her famous Caesar….she started my garlic addiction
-toasted English muffins with peanut butter!!!...hers always tasted best
-a great friend, chef, nurse, hostess and step-mum
-my favorite shopping partner
-someone I could always count on
-someone I could say anything to
-someone I will miss dearly
-someone I love
Written on 12/06/2006 by Sarah Rinas
Dad and Nancy
Dad and Nancy, Nancy and Dad
I cannot remember one without the other
“I’m going to see Dad and Nancy”
“Have you called Nancy and Dad?”
They have built their lives together
Just as this home is both of theirs in every way
For 20 years or more I have been witness to a relationship
Which has never shown me anything but :
Like two trees who have wrapped around one another
For many years without choking one or the other out
Holding each other up
Feeding one another
Sharing the world as one.
Dad and Nancy, Nancy and Dad
Although Nancy has not always been physically well
Her inner strength has been so indomitable for so long
We have all grown accustomed to her feats of unbelievable recovery and resistance
That is why there is not one of us who is not surprised to see that she is gone
Dad now finds himself without his other set of hands
His world has been built around the presence and support of Nancy
But the physical presence of Nancy has only been
a small part of the role she has played in dad’s life
although she is not physically here with us
we all carry her spirit and mind with us
in our memories and in recalling the feeling of being with Nancy.
These memories are a gift we can give my father
To help him carry the love of his life around with him
so that he may grow strong without her
Here is to a relationship that was healthy,
And full of love
That is a success story in this life
It is the story of my Dad and his Nancy
And it has been a beautiful thing to behold.
Written on 15/06/2006 by Susan Baird
. That is the date when I first met Nancy. We started out Nursing at VGH in a 3 year nursing program. She remained an acquaintance until a year later.
In our second year of training we where teamed up together for our OR experience. It was a two-month rotation in which a second year nurse came in and one left every month. I had been in the OR for one month before Nancy arrived. The head nurse assigned to the 2 OR’s in which we worked was intimidating, abrupt, and known as difficult. I showed Nancy the skills I had learned to keep on the on positive side of this person. This was the beginning of our friendship. The remainder of time at VGH came and went. I wasn’t paired up with her again in any of our specialty rotations. I saw her daily in the comings and goings of our schooling and our living in residence.
In our third year, Nancy took time off school to bicycle across Canada (Victoria to Montreal) for the opening of the Montreal Olympics in 1976. I was in awe of her sense of spirit, independence and “I can accomplish anything” attitude.
Once we graduated in Feb. ‘77 our paths took different turns. I stayed and worked at VGH, and Nancy took her first job in Yellowknife on a pediatric floor. This was her first introduction to First Nations nursing. She took the challenge. From her letters she described playing baseball at 2 am in summer and cross county skiing in winter when weather permitted. Following completion of her time in Yellowknife, Nancy and a friend traveled around New Zealand on bicycles. I, at the same time, went throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Once again our paths crossed after traveling. I worked at Shaughnessy hospital, doing critical care nursing. Nancy was working at VGH on a casual basis and going to UBC for her nursing degree. We both lived in the same building at 12th and Oak, in Vancouver. In this time period our friendship blossomed, we started jogging 2 to 3 times a week. We did enter one run together, it was a mother’s day fun run/ ten Km. We had a blast doing it. We spent many hours discussing women's issues and nursing autonomy.
We took a driving trip to California in her MGB. She was the driver, I was the navigator. We slept in a 2 man tent, took cold showers every morning in the state parks. Nancy taught me how to make salad in a bag. In one of the state parks of California, we had a close encounter with a black bear. Our steak for dinner was sitting on the table, while we were putting up the tent. I turned and saw the bear approach our table, going for the steak. I gasped, turned to Nancy and said ” Our dinner!” She actually moved forward, and shooed the bear off. It only took a portion of the steak, and we did not go to bed hungry that night.
Upon graduation of her degree Nancy felt it was time to move on. Hattie and I attended her graduation at UBC. It was a proud moment for us all.
Nancy took a job with the Federal Government; her first was as a medical officer on a coast guard ship. This is where she met Barry. At the end of her tour, she took a job nursing first nations stationed in Campbell River. I saw less of her but talked with her often.
Hattie’s illness took a turn for the worst in 1985. When Hattie was a patient at VGH having tests and treatments, Nancy camped out on my couch. With Hattie’s passing it was a difficult time. I found Nancy and her Mom had a very close and loving relationship. As the years passed by Nancy spoke of how she felt her brothers (Alan and Tim) were supportive to her and to their mother during their time of need.
Nancy took a promotion and was stationed in Victoria. Still with First Nations, covering the northern part to Vancouver Island. Here she and Barry set up house.
Meeting Barry was one of the highlights in Nancy's life. I felt he brought to her, a sense of peace and happiness within herself in which she had never prior experienced. They as a couple complemented each other’s strengths and weakness.
After a period of time due to her health problems she retired from her government post. Nancy and Barry opened up the bed and breakfast. I came to visit regularly, and was treated like a queen. I felt I didn’t deserve the attention showered upon me. Our conversations over the years continued.
We continued to discuss nursing issues, empowerment of women and relationships. Her love for nursing did not lessen even though she left her career prematurely.
Over time her illness become more debilitating. I saw how Barry stepped up and was there for her. Nancy always spoke very highly of him. He was there for her during her time of need, and I know she loved him very much and forever.
Nancy, you will never be forgotten.
Written on 22/06/2006 by Rhonda Cromarty
Gourmet breakfasts, Luxurious hot tub, beautiful decor and super gracious hostessing
Thanks Nancy for an excellent stay! Will send our friends!
Kevin and Janine - New Market, Maryland
John G. C. Brainard (1795-1828): I saw Two Clouds at Morning.