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Born: Nov 11, 1941

Date of Passing: Sep 30, 2022

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(a.k.a. Frances Russell, Journalist)

November 11,1941 – September 30,2022

Born Frances Evelyn Russell in Winnipeg, Frances was predeceased by her parents Leslie and Evelyn Russell and only sister Elaine Proctor. She is survived by her husband Kenneth and son Geoffrey as well two grandsons, Wyatt, and Hayden. She attended Kelvin High School and United College, receiving a double honours BA in political science and history.
Frances was a well-known journalist. She started in Ottawa after first applying to the Winnipeg Free Press, where she was dismissed by the managing editor, saying he already had a woman reporter on staff (on the Women's Page!). Her well known political reporting career included Parliament Hill, Ottawa (United Press International), Queen's Park, Toronto (Globe and Mail), Manitoba Legislative Building (Winnipeg Tribune) and political columnist with the Vancouver Sun (Victoria, BC), Winnipeg Free Press and Winnipeg Tribune. As a noted Winnipeg journalist, her articles were requested by the University of Manitoba Archives Library upon her retirement.
After retirement, Frances decided to write on her favourite subject, Lake Winnipeg, where she spent numerous summers at her parent's cottage at Ponemah Beach. Originally meant to cover boats on The Lake, her publisher, Heartland Associates, convinced her to do a history of Lake Winnipeg, including a chapter on the fabled boats. Her book, Mistehay Sakahegan, The Great Lake was a Margaret McWilliams Award winner from the Manitoba Historical Society for 2004.
Her other passion was to document Manitoba's role in Canada's Great Divide – the French-English Language controversy. In her book The Canadian Crucible she indicates the influence of a professor Cornelius Jaenen and a young Franco-Manitoban historian Robert Painchaud (posthumously), both champions of how events in Manitoba frustrated the dreams of early Canadian Prime Ministers for a bilingual-bicultural Western Canada. In the prologue Prof. Jaenen says of her book, "it is a story that must be told, and Frances tells it well"
Frances will be dearly missed by family and friends. But the combination of Alzheimer's, genetic heart condition and a stroke finally took its toll in her later years, in her 80th year.
In lieu of flowers, Frances would wish for donations to be made to The Lake Winnipeg Foundation, for its continuing research and advocacy to save Lake Winnipeg. 107-62 Hargrave St. Winnipeg MB R3C 1N1
The family would welcome friends to honour her memory by visiting her tribute page at and sharing fond memories in your life encounters with Frances.

Simple Cremation & Life Celebrations
204-421-5501 -

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 08, 2022

Condolences & Memories (3 entries)

  • Dear Ken and Geoffrey, We are sorry to hear of the passing of Frances. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. It was so nice having you as neighbours when we moved in across the street. My parents thoroughly enjoyed reading Frances' column in The Free Press. She was a wonderful lady, and she will be dearly missed. Gord and Sharon Sayers - Posted by: Sharon and Gord Sayers (Neighbour) on: Oct 09, 2022

  • Fran and Ken were a big part of my life. Fran and my mom were best friends for decades, Ken officiated at our wedding. Fran taught me research, facts, history, diligence and courage of her convictions. Just try being a liberal female journalist (op ed columnist) day in and day out in a male and right wing dominated media. It can be a very lonely place to be. Thank goodness for the support of Ken, my mom and dad, and other friends. I thank my mom for bringing Fran and Ken into our lives. I will not forget Fran. - Posted by: Tom McMahon and Kelly Klick (Friends ) on: Oct 08, 2022

  • We are so sorry to read about the loss of your mom and grandma. Sending heartfelt condolences to all of you. - Posted by: Jane and Ken Nichols (Former teacher and coworker) on: Oct 08, 2022

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