February 13, 2019
Passed away February 13, 2019 in Penticton, BC. He died as he lived, peacefully and surrounded by love with his family and friends at his side. Bernie is deeply missed by Nancy, his loving wife of 32 years and his siblings Adrien, Mine, Ria, Paula and numerous nieces and nephews who reside in Canada, Belgium, France and Holland.
He is grieved by beloved family friends Armellie, Mark, Izabela, godchildren Samuel and Arianna and many others. Bernie was predeceased by his parents Piet Fransen and Hendrika van Oyen and siblings Nelly, Harry and Jan.
Bernie was born in Overpelt, Belgium. The eldest of eight children, his first language was Flemish. As a youth Bernie enjoyed playing soccer and bicycling. He came to Canada as a missionary to the North, currently the territory of Nunavut, in 1953. During his 20 years there he served and worked with the people of Chesterfield, Rankin Inlet, Coral Harbour, Repulse Bay, Whale Cove and Igloolik. He felt a great deal of curiosity about the region and often spoke of the respect and admiration he felt for its First Nations inhabitants.
Their generosity and wisdom was imprinted on Bernie and he remained in awe of their strength and grace for the rest of his life. In 1970 Bernie left the North and moved to BC where he worked with special needs students (PDSCL). Bernie felt that although these students had particular challenges, they also possessed special gifts. Even after his retirement, his students continued to visit him frequently.
A true adventurer, Bernie travelled the world, wrote two books, pursued photography and was a gifted painter. He loved to share his stories but always being more interested in the stories of others.
Special thank you to the staff of Trinity Care Centre where Bernie resided for over 3 years. Their care was remarkable and their kindness unfailing. Nancy is deeply appreciative of Father Rex, St. Ann’s Parish community and her many hospital colleagues and friends who have walked beside her during this last part of Bernie’s journey.
Prayers to be held Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 7:15 pm. Funeral mass to be held Monday, March 4, 2019 at 10:30 am. Everyone is welcome to both services which will be held at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 1296 Main Street, Penticton. Reception at the Church hall following the Mass.
A Memorial Service will be in Overpelt, Belgium at a later date. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to Penticton Regional Hospital, Obstetrics Department www.sosmedicalfoundation.com or the Churchill Eskimo Museum, 242 Laverendyre Avenue, Churchill, MB, R0B 0E0. Condolences may be shared with the family by visiting providencefuneralhomes.com.
“Life is only for love,
Time is only that we may find God.”