FRENCH, Wilda Jean (nee LOCKERBIE)

February 26, 1922 – April 26, 2012

Wilda Jean French (Jean) passed away unexpectedly on April 26, 2012, at the Delta Hospital in Ladner, B.C., just 2 months after celebrating her 90th birthday. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Leslie and Donald Banks, her granddaughters Lindsay (Dale) Anderson and Stacey Banks (Rob Evans); her 2 great-grandchildren Ethan and Lauren Anderson; all of Vernon, B.C.; and her daughter Jean French, of Vancouver, B.C. She is further survived by her step-grandchildren Nick Porayko and Lindsey (Jay) Quong and her step-great-grandchildren Maddie, Georgia and Brock Porayko and Madden Quong, all of Edmonton, Alberta. Also surviving Jean are her sister-in-law Beverly (Tom) Hughes of Vancouver, and several nieces and nephews and their families who loved their Aunty Jean. In addition, she is survived by close friends Lisa Julien and Bill Woo.

Jean was predeceased by her husband of 44 years, Dr. Bill French, in 1992, and her son Bill French, in 1999. She was also predeceased by her parents Doug and Marlie Lockerbie, her sisters and brothers-in-law Leslie (Clair) Finn and Marion (George) Shipley; her in-laws Percy and Frances French, her sister-in-law Vivian (Ken) Swensson, and her brother-in-law Dick (Mabel) French and family friend Stephen Julien.

Jean was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and was the last member of the Lockerbie family who were the co-founders of Lockerbie and Hole. In 1940, she moved to Montreal where she attended MacDonald College (McGill University) and after graduating with her B.Sc. in Home Ec., she returned to Edmonton to work. In 1947, a young surgical resident named Bill French, originally from Vernon, after some 8 years of on and off “wooing”, finally convinced Jean to say yes and they were married on May 15th, 1948. They lived in Toronto for 3 ½ years while Bill completed his residency and Jean worked for Bell Tel. Three weeks after the birth of their first child they moved to Kamloops, B. C., where Bill worked for 20 years at the Burris Clinic. Jean became very involved in the community including the Kamloops United Church, the University Women’s Club, Royal Inland Hospital Women’s Auxiliary, the Kamloops Golf Club and played bridge every chance she could and skiied at Todd Mountain. She spent her summers at her beloved Shuswap Lake.

In 1972, Bill and Jean with Billy in tow, moved to Tsawwassen and it did not take long for Jean to make numerous new friends and join the same activities as she had in Kamloops. After Bill’s death in 1992, Jean became a world traveller and visited most continents. Her favourite place in the world remained Shuswap Lake and she had many a bridge and cocktail party, maintaining all of her old friendships up until 2 summers before her death. In both Kamloops and Tsawwassen, she was well-known for her annual Xmas parties. Jean had an infectious personality and zest for life that made her loved by everyone she met. The glass was always full and her strong faith got her through the bad times. She enjoyed a full life even though she was legally blind for the last 10 years and played bridge some 2 weeks prior to her death. The greatest joy in her life were her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

The family are forever grateful to her caregiver Tina Dhillon, and Dr. Noble.

A Celebration of Jean’s Life will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2012, 2:00 p.m. at Tsawwssen United Church, 693 – 53rd Street. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the CNIB in Jean’s memory, 5055 Joyce Street #100, Vancouver, B.C. V5R 6B2.

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Delta Funeral Home

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