William Edward “Ned” France
June 9, 1927 – January 11, 2011
Ned passed away in his 84th year at the Nanaimo Senior’s Village, two years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The beloved husband and best friend of Prudence “Prue” Anna France (nee Beecher) for 58 years. Loving father of three daughters: Sheila Burke (Russ) of Nanaimo; Deborah Zealand, of Port Hardy and Alison France of Courtenay. Also son Duncan France of Port McNeill. Adoring “Papa” to Heidi Zealand Hutchinson (Mark) of Victoria; Shaun Zealand of Victoria; Bradley Zealand of Port Hardy; Drew Burke (Lily) of Tofino; Stuart and Mary Burke of Nanaimo; Desiree and Sheena France of Port Hardy. Also, great grandson Rylan France of Port Hardy. Ned leaves his dear brother, Malcolm France (Christeen) of Ladner; nephew Christopher; nieces Anne and Fiona and cousins John MacLennan of Beauly, Scotland and Mary Bell of London, England. He also leaves special friends Les Melan of Nanaimo; Nils Nelson of Port Hardy; Alistair Milne of Inverness, Scotland; and Sandy Ritchie of Beauly, Scotland. Ned was predeceased by his father “Willie” France in 1934 and his ten year old sister, Anne Elizabeth France in 1943 in Scotland; and by his stepfather Norman Woodward in 1987 and his mother Ethel Woodward in 1990 in Port Hardy.
Ned was born in 1927 to William Henderson Mitchell France and Ethel Constance France (nee MacLennan) in Beauly, Scotland. At the age of 18 he was called up by the British Army (army of occupation, immediately after the Second World War ended) in 1945. He was stationed in Germany, Belgium and Holland for three years. He was demobbed in 1948 and joined his mother and brother in Port Hardy on his 21st birthday, June 9, 1948. Ned worked for Alice Lake Logging in Port Hardy and in 1953 he began a four year aircraft engineer apprenticeship with BC Airlines at the Port Hardy Airport. He was in charge of aircraft maintenance for many years until he decided to have a career change. In 1974 he bought a 39’ troller, the “Ebie” and commercially fished salmon (with wife Prue) until his retirement in 1999 when he was 72. He was a member of the Aero Club and director of the Pacific Troller’s Association; the Harbour’s Commission; the Port Hardy Historical Society; and the North Vancouver Island Salmon Enhancement Society.
Ned loved flying and in the early 1950’s got his commercial pilot’s licence in Vancouver. For a few years he shared ownership in an amphibious plane, a “Seabee”. He and his friends loved to land on the lakes and fish. Ned also had a passion for boats and the ocean and aboard the “Cairngorm”. Each summer in the 1960’s he took the family north to many wonderful destinations, especially West Beach, Calvert Island. Ned loved to travel, (especially to Scotland) was an avid golfer and a skilled woodworker. He spent many hours in his basement creating things for the family. Ned lived at Storey’s Beach for fifty-five years and loved to walk on the beach, especially with his beloved dog “Tiggi”. We all miss you Ned.
The family would like to thank and is appreciative of the great care and concern shown by Dr. DeWit; the staff at Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Hardy; Dr. Fletcher and the staff at the Nanaimo Senior’s Village
in Nanaimo. A celebration of life service will be held on February 5th, 2011 at 2:00pm at the St. Columba United Anglican Church in Port Hardy (9190 Granville St. Port Hardy) with Reverend Rob Hutchison officiating. Refreshments, provided by the church ladies group, will be served after the service in the hall downstairs. Everyone is welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made to the Alzheimer’s Society of BC. Arrangements entrusted to the Yates Funeral Home.