“Frank” Philip Francis DUDDY

Frank’s Story

On October 04th, 1938 Philip Francis (Frank) was the firstborn child of Eddie & Annie Duddy of Islay, AB. As time went by, he was joined by five siblings, three sisters & two brothers. Their names were Mary, Edward, Eileen, Michael & Sheila. The Duddy’s were farmers, and it was here that the children learned the value of life and how to take care of themselves and the need to earn a living for their own families.

When Frank was four years old, he became ill with appendicitis and had to have surgery. During the surgery it became apparent that his appendix was ruptured and had been for some time. In 1939 healthcare was not what it is today and due to complications, he had to spend about a month in the hospital. His diet consisted almost totally of liquids with one of the main items being jello. Due to this Frank never wanted to be served jello again.

All of Frank’s schooling took place at Deer Lake School where he completed grade six. In those days all the children were taught in one room by one teacher with the grades being from one to nine. Frank’s father was quite ill with stomach problems during this time, so Frank became his mother’s main helper around the farm. At the age of fourteen he left school and for the next two years he found some employment with neighboring farmers as well as helping at home. Then at sixteen he went to work on road construction and helped to build the road through the Frog Lake Reserve. Work was not very plentiful at the time so when this job finished, he returned to working on farms and again helping on the family farm.

In 1953 when Frank was eighteen, he was introduced to a farm girl in Vermillion, AB by his cousin Joan Brady. This girls name was Winnie Ferguson and she was one of Joan’s school chums. Frank often called her by her second name which was Jean, and she quickly became the love of his life. They were married in Vermillion on December 10th, 1954, and went to live on Winnie’s mothers farm. In 1955 they were blessed with a baby girl (Edna Anne) whom they named for her two grandmothers. Frank and Winnie spent the first two years of their marriage on this farm except for the summer of 1956 when they went to work for a farmer at Delia, AB.

The income from the farm was not able to support two families so in 1957 Frank went to work for his brother-in-law Leo Kinshella. They worked for the National Grain Elevator Company on the repair crew. This work consisted of all the necessary repairs from shingling of roofs to painting of elevators and doing repairs to agents’ homes from time to time.

In 1957 Frank and Winnie were blessed once again this time with a son (Phillip Ross) who was given his dad’s first name and a second name from one of Winnie’s uncles. This proved to be the extent of their family.

Franks employment with the grain elevator company continued for five years and after this he worked at various construction jobs in Vermillion and area. One of these jobs consisted of building a bowling alley and when it opened he was hired by the owners to do the maintenance work. He worked long hours and was often left in charge of the regular operations of the business. This employment lasted for the winter and in the spring Frank returned to carpenter work. He became a partner in Cooper’s Construction of Manville, AB but due to a lack of work this was terminated after a year.

In the spring of 1964 Frank acquired employment at Lyon’s Hatchery & Poultry Farm of Vermillion, AB. This proved to be an interesting place to work but the owners, due to their age found it necessary to close the business in the fall of 1965 so Frank was once again unemployed but as luck would have it the fellow who purchased the laying hens hired Frank and Winnie for his farm (Wally’s Poultry Farm) at Spruce Grove, AB. This meant moving so in October 1965 the family took up residence in Spruce Grove. In the spring of 1966 Frank became ill with asthma and because of his allergies had to leave this type of work.

On June 06th, 1966 Frank became an employee of Edmonton Public Stockyards this work suited him well because it was working with farm animals. The family made the move to Edmonton, AB on July 1st, 1966 and purchased their first home in the fall of 1967. The employment at the stockyards proved to be the correct place for Frank because he spent almost of 27 years working there. As well as working at the yards Frank became employed with a company called Modern Building Cleaning from 1974 -1976 so he worked two full time jobs. This started out as a favor for a friend but lasted two years.

Frank once again was counting his blessings because on July 18th, 1978 a granddaughter (Amy) was born to daughter Anne & son-in law Ron Aussant. Then on November 28th, 1983 a granddaughter Shauna Duddy was born to Phillip and daughter-in-law Marianne Duddy followed on October 12th, 1984 by a grandson David Aussant and on March 31st, 1986 another grandson Richard Duddy. These little ones brought much joy to the lives of the whole family and proved to be all the grandchildren for Frank and Winnie. After working almost exclusively on the afternoon shift for 19 years, Frank transferred to daytime hours. This move proved more fruitful as it resulted in a promotion in 1987 to the position of foreman. Frank took the responsibilities of foreman very seriously. They were demanding at times and he was often on call twenty four hours a day to assist the other workers when they had a problem that they did not know how to deal with. It was due to all the years of working on afternoon shift without a foreman on duty that gave him the experience of how to solve many problems. This position involved many long hours at different times depending how busy it was.

Frank was badly injured at work in May 1991 when a heard of cows stampeded over him. An ambulance was called and he was transported to the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Upon examination it was determined that he had sustained several broken ribs, a punctured lung, and an upper spine injury, as well as a rotator cuff injury to the right shoulder and multiple scrapes and bruises. After spending several days in the hospital Frank had to spend the rest of the summer recuperating. It was a good thing that the accident was covered by the Workman’s Compensation Board so he received almost full pay for this period of time. The accident left Frank with a permanent shoulder injury which restricted his movement and caused him quite a lot of pain whenever he was required to use it much. As result of this disability, he continued to receive a partial payment from WCB until he reached the age of sixty-five. Frank returned to work in the fall, but it was a good thing he had two years of unused holiday time coming to him as his health was not very good. This amounted to about twelve weeks of time he could take off a week at a time allowing him to rest his shoulder.

In October 1991 the marriage of son Phillip came to and end and they were divorcing leaving Phillip top raise his children as a single parent. This was a very trying time in the family’s life as it affected everyone.

As circumstances have it October 1992 Frank was again injured at work when his right leg was jammed against a cement wall by an animal. It was a lucky thing his leg was not broken, just very badly bruised. This accident put him back on compensation for six weeks and upon returning to work Frank found it very difficult to cope with the job due to the continuing discomfort of his right shoulder. So, after much deliberation he decided reluctantly to resign from his job. On March 31st, 1993, he terminated his employment with the stockyards. Frank took some time off to rest before once again seeking employment and he decided to look for part time work.

In May 1993 he acquired a part time seasonal position at Hillside Terrace condos as the grounds keeper. The work was to his liking as it did not tax his shoulder much. The condo association also needed a handyman, so Frank’s work requirements were revised to include various items of minor repair such as repairing and painting fences and garage doors. He was basically able to work whatever hours his shoulder would let him.

In January 1994 Winnie’s sister Joan came to live with Frank and Winnie. This seemed to leave them with a lot of free time on their hands as Joan took it upon herself to do most of the household chores. Frank and Winnie had always wanted to live in the country and the opportunity to do so came in October 1995 when they purchased an acreage at Ardrossan, AB. The acreage consisted of eight acres with a five-bedroom house, a three stall garage and breezeway, also a large shop, a small barn and a garden shed. The place was kind of neglected so it required a lot of fixing up. The house was in bad need of painting so son Phillip’s trade as a painter came in handy and was used to good advantage and son-in-law Ron pitched in and helped with the clean up of the yard. The clean up of the house took place over the winter months and in February 1996 moving started. The house in Edmonton was sold so in early March the move became complete. Joan was doing the housework, so the outside work became the responsibility of Frank and Winnie. The first animals to arrive were a cat (Sheena) and a dog (Sassy). A garden was planted and the fields were cleaned of debris and the fences repaired so the first years cattle arrived. Over time chickens and a couple of pigs and also sheep were added to the farm. Some more cats came and went and the various animals changed from year to year. The acreage proved to be lots of work but Frank enjoyed it all.

As things would have it in the summer of 2002 Joan retired and moved back to B.C. so she could be near her family and this left a big void in the family lifestyle. Things changed again when on April 16th, 2003 the counting of blessing came to the forefront once again with the arrival of a great granddaughter Madison Birkbeck, born to granddaughter Amy and Ryan Birkbeck. This sure helped to fill the void as they often came to visit.

Frank’s employment with the condo continued until June 15, 2005 and then he officially retired after 56 years of working either full or part time. Just when Frank seemed to have time to relax and really enjoy the acreage he some how hurt his back causing a disc to protrude and create lots of pain. The following winter became quite unbearable for Frank.

A variety of tests were done and the doctors said that an operation to repair his back was not an option. So at the ripe old age of 70 the lifestyle of the acreage had to come to an end as Frank could no longer do the required work to maintain the place. In February 2006 a home was purchased in Edmonton and the acreage was sold. The move took place in May 2006 and the new place was to be relatively maintenance free as the grass cutting and snow removal was supplied. With injections of steroids into his spine Frank’s back slowly improved and he automatically did some of the maintenance as well as helping neighbors when they needed it. Life started to look pretty good again and some time was found to take a few minor holidays.

Frank and Winnie were blessed once again by the birth of a second great granddaughter Rylie Hazlett when she arrived on August 03rd, 2007 born to granddaughter Shauna Duddy and Drew Hazlett. This was followed by the blessing of another great granddaughter Brooklyn on April 13th, 2008 born to Amy and Ryan Birkbeck. As always these little ones proved to bring great joy to grandpa Frank as he got to play with children again whenever they came to visit. Small children are his favorite kind of people. Who knows maybe there will be more great grandchildren yet?

January 2009 is here and once again Frank’s back is giving him trouble. The injections to his spine are going to start again in March and hopefully they will help once more. Life goes on.

Due to some severe reactions to pain medicine Frank was hospitalized in early April 2009. He was in bad shape and the diagnosis was dementia. It took a hospital stay of 45 days for him to improve enough to return home so the battle with dementia begins. With good medical care and family help it is hoped that he will be able to remain at home for a very long time.

July 2009 and it is moving day again this move is to a place that has connections to a full time care facility where Frank and Winnie can get help with things if needed. Again life goes on.

Time has seen a good deal of improvement in Frank and as always he finds ways to keep busy. With some help from Winnie he has made improvements to the flower beds as well as the garage and basement. Things look pretty good right now.

It’s 2013 and time to count blessings again with the arrival of another great granddaughter. March 14th Payton Audrey was born to Amy and Ryan.

It’s 2015 things continue to go well.

It’s 2017 and blessing time again with the arrival of yet another great granddaughter. On February 19th Jude Everleigh was born to David and Shae. Frank keeps busy helping Winnie with her housework and the flowers in the summertime. Sometimes he does small jobs for some neighbors.

It’s springtime in 2020 and Frank is having trouble with his right knee. An injection in early July has given him good relief. His dementia has got a little worse causing him some more confusion. COVID-19 arrived in Alberta in March and so far all our family are OK. The year goes  on with Frank helping a neighbor put in landscape blocks for a flower bed. Also another neighbor with her downspouts. He always finds things that he is able to do. Winter is upon us so time to take life easy.


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