FIRE FIGHTER’S PRAYER
“When I am called to duty, God.
Wherever flames may rage;
Give me strength to save some life,
Whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
Before it is too late;
Or save an older person from
The horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout;
And quickly and efficiently.
To put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and
To give the best in me;
To guard my every neighbour
And protect his property.
And if according to your will
I have to lose my life;
Please bless with your
My children and my wife.”
It is with deep sadness, that we announce the passing of our Father, Papa, mentor and role model, at the age of 88. It was with hard work, integrity, and faith that Frank led a remarkable, and full life.
Frank was born in Field, British Columbia on October 28th, 1925. He passed away peacefully on August 7, 2014 at Joseph Creek Care Village in Cranbrook, British Columbia. He died of natural causes with family at his side.
Frank was raised and attended school in Field, BC. He went to work for Burns Meat Market in Field at the age of 13. His early work life took him to Banff, Fort McLeod, and Cranbrook. He was a WWII veteran serving overseas from June 1944 to April 1946 with the Canadian Army. Upon returning he went to work for Base Metal Mines in Field, BC and then Yoho National Park as a Park Warden.
Frank and Delphina Pecora married in Golden, British Columbia on July 29, 1950. They resided in Field, British Columbia and were the owners of Fields only butcher shop. As a Park Warden summers were spent living in a Wardens cabin adjacent to Lake O’Hara. While Frank kept busy maintaining, or breaking new trails for visitors to embark on, Delphina would bake delicious pies in the little cabin. As one was cooling on a high windowsill, a bear thought it pretty tasty, and scooped it! A story that became family lore, Frank loved his Yoho and never forgot those days. He hoped to return one day.
In 1957 they moved to Cranbrook, British Columbia and Frank started a job with the Cranbrook Fire Department. He became Deputy Chief in 1972 and was later to become Fire Chief retiring in 1985.
Frank was very involved in his community. He was a past President & Treasurer of the Cranbrook Rod and Gun Club, Zone representative for the Handgun Competition for the 1986 BC Summer Games, and a member of the Cranbrook District Trophy Competition for 25 years. He was also a member of the BC Wildlife Association, as well as a member of the Cranbrook Ambulance Association.
He loved the mountains, hunting, fishing, hiking and spending many summers camping with his wife Delphina and with extended family.
He was a 4th degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus, becoming a lifetime member. How handsome he was in his tux! Delphina’s eyes would light up when she saw him.
His talents as a Gun Smith were well known as he was called on many times before and after hunting season. He greatly enjoyed collecting, rebuilding and refinishing rifles, loading shells, and hanging out with ‘the boys’ in his workshop or den; not to mention many memorable hunting adventures; in the area, and in the prairies. After a fruitful day of fishing he would come home with the days catch all cleaned and readied for Delphina to cook up for a tasty meal. Although he didn’t fly fish, he taught his son Frank Jr. how to tie flies. He was very proud of his son Frank Jr. and the father that he has become. He taught his grandsons to shake hands at a very early age. He would say “make sure to shake strong and look them in the eye”; by example, a work ethic that will live on.
When Carol Ann started to hone her shopping skills, and brought home another treasure, he would always say: “Carol Ann”, she would quickly respond “was only a dollar Dad”. It became a long standing line the two shared. It always brought a giggle. Being a man of many talents he showed Carmen (age 10 at the time) how to mend one of his work socks. That became her job, as well as turning the collars/cuffs on his shirts for many years.
Volunteering was always important to him. An annual fishing derby for children hosted by the Cranbrook Fire Fighters was a high-light for 30 plus years. He would be in charge of serving orange aid drinks from a keg. Somehow he kept track of how many children he served, and always commented about his orange thumb at the end of the day.
Frank had a generous spirit. He quietly helped many people, probably more than any of us realize. He was always concerned for his family and hoped that they would take care of themselves. His motto: your body is meant to move. Physical fitness, and healthy eating was always so important to him, and he certainly walked the talk. He has impacted many lives and will be missed by 188 Colonna descendants.
Frank was predeceased by his wife of 50 years Delphina Pecora Colonna (2001); granddaughter Samantha Colonna (1997); parents Camillo Colonna (1938), Filomena Misurelli (1984); siblings, their spouses and nephews: John Colonna (1983), sister-in-law Beatrice Dunn Colonna (1980); Vincenzina Colonna Chiarizo (1996); brother-in-law Carmen Chiarizo (1999); Louis Colonna (1999), sister-in-law Amy Watson Colonna (1998); Carmel Colonna (2007); niece Eileen Marie Chiarizio (2003); and nephews Roland Colonna (1986), David Bingham (1998), Don Caponero (1998) and Tom Dolan (2011). He was also predeceased by his in-laws: Frank Pecora (1976) Mary Mazzuca Pecora (1997); brother-in-law Jim Pecora (2007); sister-in-law Emma Yeager Pecora (1993); and nephew Gary Maddison (2006).
Frank and Delphina are survived by three children: Carmen (Neil Weber), Carol Ann (Dennis Charpentier), and Frank Jr. (E-J Boyd); five grandsons: David, Scott, Jon, James, Joshua; one granddaughter Gabrielle; and his great grandchildren: Audrey, Hayley and Trenten. Also surviving Frank are his sister-in-law Mary Colonna; his brothers-in-law Orlando (Wendy) Pecora, Mario (Mary) Pecora and Dan Pecora, all of Golden BC, as well as many nieces, nephews and their families.
A heart felt thank you to Frank’s nieces and nephews Phyllis and Fred Deschamps and Joyce and Glen Gunn for their special care and attention over the years shown to our father when his family was so far away.
The family would also like to thank the members of the Cranbrook Fire Department for their brotherhood and their respect shown over many years for our father – he loved his boys at the Hall; the East Kootenay Regional Hospital; Invermere Ivy House, Invermere and District Hospital; Joseph Creek Village and Care Village; to the staff for their professionalism – especially Shannon who referred to Frank as Papa. We would like to thank all of them for their caring and compassion shown to his family at such a difficult time; and Father Peter Tompkins at St. Mary’s for his prayers and guidance.
True to Frank, he has requested that no fuss be made. Hence; by his request no service or reception will be held. If you so choose, a donation in Frank’s memory may be made to: B.C Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, 463 – 4800 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC, V5H 4J2, Ph: Burn Fund 604-436-5617 or burnfund.org.
Arrangements entrusted to McPherson Funeral Service. Condolences for the family can be offered at: www.mcphersonfh.com.