Frances “Frankie” Irene Kelly (nee Kirwan)


Born January 7, 1944 in Parry Sound, Ontario to Francis Leonard Kirwan and Irene Mary Bradley.

Died April 2, 2020 in Edmonton, AB with Frank by her side.

Frankie is survived by the love of her life of 54 years, Francis (Frank) John Joseph Kelly of Didsbury, her devoted daughters; Kimberley Kelly (Rufus Scrimger) and Kathleen Kelly, and her precious grandsons; Jack and Alex Scrimger, all of Edmonton.

Frankie has three sisters; Sandra Johnston (Ottawa), Judith Kirwan (Ottawa), Elizabeth Ritchie (Toronto), and two brothers; Bradley Ritchie (Ottawa), Randall Ritchie (deceased), and sister-in-law; Joan Crea (Ottawa); Maureen Shore (deceased), along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Frankie taught school in Ottawa and in Calgary for many years and loved every minute of it! She found every day exciting and a joy to work with so many wonderful students from Grades 1 to 6. She made life-long friends during her teaching career who have always been part of her life.

After retiring, she and Frank moved to Didsbury, Alberta and have enjoyed being part of this community. Frankie had been President of the Didsbury Museum and met many interesting people when in this role and also as an avid community volunteer. She loved working at the Museum and her grandsons thought she might even have a bed there! The big “M” (as the family lovingly nicknamed it) kept Frankie’s mind active, allowed her to form wonderful relationships, and provided opportunities to learn, to teach others about history, and to serve her community.

Frankie expressed to her family, over the last few months, that she was truly blessed by her many friends and family and felt fortunate to have lived such a wonderful life.

Cremation has taken place in Edmonton and she will rest in the Didsbury Cemetery. A celebration of Frankie’s well-lived life will be held in Didsbury, Alberta at a later date.

“Good friends are like fancy chocolates, it’s what’s inside that makes them special!”

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to the Didsbury Museum (PO Box 1175, Didsbury, AB T0M 0W0 or for the History Book Project or spend time with a friend and go for lunch.

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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

BArbara Gitzel

My sincere condolences to Kim Kelly and all her family. I know of Frankie through knowing Kim. When I read the tributes to “Frankie” Irene Kelly, I realize that she lives on vividly through her children and her grandchildren, Alex and Jack….the easy smile, the compassion and respect for others, the joy in knowledge and the creativity. May Frankie live on freely and fully in the memories of all who knew and loved her.

Mahrie Reid Glab

Frankie bounded into my life about two years ago, full of enthusiasm and energy and ready to compile an up to date storybook for Didsbury. She always had an infectious smile. We’ll miss her.

Alex Mckay

Frankie was my mom’s best friend (and conspirator) for many years. Frankie and Frank helped out with my father when he was dying and Mom could not take care of him herself. And after Mom had a debilitating stroke and lost her ability to use language, Frankie remained a true friend — visiting, taking her for lunch and car rides, and many other acts of kindness. Few people ever have the gift of such a selfless and devoted friend as Frankie. Truly she was the embodiment of “there are angels among us”. Love and best wishes to Frank and the family.

Gordon and Lois Fairhead

As a school principal, I had the privilege of working with Frankie on two separate occasions – firstly, when we opened Woodbine School and later, at Deer Run School. Frankie was a very dedicated, hard working teacher and a supportive, upbeat staff member. She set high standards for herself through the creation of interesting, innovative lessons and projects – which in turn challenged and engaged her students in meaningful and relevant learning. Frankie had a great sense of humour, was a joy to be around and she often spearheaded staff functions. She was generous in sharing her forward thinking ideas and many talents – including creating stuffed teddy bears. The world has lost an inspirational educator and wonderful person. To Frank and family, please accept our condolences.

Joan Crea & Ron O’Brien

I wish I cud be there with you all to hold you in my arms and share your sorrow. It was a difficult road to travel for all of you. So many precious memories of the times we had together with Frankie at the helm and directing
all of her workers. She was always the one with all the news when I called. She was so proud of her family especially “her boys”. They were her pride and joy. She was so dedicated to the Museum. Rest in Peace Frankie. You will be missed. I will always love you.

Gail Kiss

Frankie was my colleague at Queensland. I remember her so vividly as someone with passion, conviction and caring – towards both her students and her colleagues. She always had my admiration! Please accept my sincere condolences.

Shannon Nadeau

Frank, I am so sorry for your loss. I look forward to the day that I can see you & give you a huge hug. For now, I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Dean Mousseau

Will miss Frankies drive, dedication and friendship. She helped many of us through difficult times

Rick Astle

My sincere condolences to Frank and family, I have known Frankie through the museum for the past 10 years and a person with such passion is hard to find and the museum and Didsbury will feel this loss. I considered Frankie a friend and mentor at the museum and will miss her sage advice. Rest easy your life’s work is at an end and you have managed it well.

Karen Crosby

My deepest condolences to Frank and family. Frankie was a joy to know, full of fun, exuberance and positive energy. A life well lived.

Nancy Hall

I had the privilege of teaching with Frankie at Deer Run School. Such a creative and full-of-life person who loved her job. She was a master teacher and a great colleague.

Rhonda Hunter

Sending my heartfelt condolences to you, Frank, and your family. I was blessed to have known Frankie, to have called her friend, and to have witnessed the special touch she had on the many projects and tasks she took on in our/her community. I will miss her beautiful smile and her generous and thoughtful spirit. My thoughts are with you at this sad and difficult time.

Tim Hofmann

I am very sad to hear of Frankie’s passing. It was always a wonderful experience to be with Frankie. Laughter was always part of being with Frankie. She had a wonderful spirit and anyone who knew her was blessed by her presence in their life. I will remember her always. My good wishes to Frank and family. I am sorry for your loss.

Debbie Gibbs

Frankie was such a beautiful soul, full of so much love and willingness to help. Sending hugs to the family as you all move through your loss. I will miss Frankie and will remember all the wonderful teachings she gave just by being herself.

Merry Rogers

Frankie and I met in 2002 and she blessed me with her kindness and grace. I lost touch after she had been in Didsbury for awhile but was overjoyed to run into her at The Germaine. I will always remember her. xx

Patty Johnston

First I’d like to give my condolences to Uncle Frank. Kathy. Kim and Rufus, Alex and Jack. Lots of memories of my Dear Favorite Aunt. Especially when we were young. We always visited out west or your Ottawa visits, Were always fun. When I was a kid the best was doing Halloween out west. And Aunt Frankie and Frank made the Best animal pancakes. And when I was older for my 35th bday. Aunt Frankie got Uncle Frank to go buy my a concert ticket to see Van Halen at the Saddle Dome. That was Special….And she took me to the Calgary Tower for dinner. She told me she had connections to have the tower lit for my bday dinner. But it turns out there was some dignitary person in town the same night. At first I believed her. Best Night…R.I.P. Aunt Frankie. I’m sure Dad was waiting for you with open Angel Arms. Love you Patricia Johnston ❤

Stella Johnston

I enjoyed working alongside Frankie at the Didsbury Museum. Frankie loved her community and served it well. She is missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Bruce & Carol Smith

Our community has lost a wonderful caring soul. Our condolences to Frankie’s family.

Tonia and Ted Cowan

To Uncle Frank, Kathy, Kim, Rufus, Jack and Alex;
Please know that we are thinking of you and holding you in our hearts.
I have very happy memories of us together with Ottawa visits or when we got to come see you in Calgary. Aunt Frankie always had something planned – usually something Great!
She will be missed.
Tonia and Ted

Susan Paton

So sorry for your loss. I met Frankie through my mom Alice Gray. They quickly became friends when my mom moved here. After my mom passed away it was always so nice to run into her. She always told a nice story about my mom. I also loved bringing my class to the museum when Frankie was there. She was a special lady and will be missed.

Gail Nowlan

I am so sorry to read this. One of my favourites here in town! Worked with her a few ways and always appreciated her wisdom and gentleness. I am so sorry for your loss. ❤️


Frankie will be dearly missed by all those that she touched near and far. The community of Didsbury was blessed to have a lady with such a generous soul as part of our family. We are so very thankful to have benefited from the numerous hours that she tirelessly donated to worthy causes in our community. Rest In Peace beautiful lady.

Val Clark

I got to know Frankie through our TOPS group. She was always such a friendly person and always had a pleasant way about her. She had words of encouragement for each of us no matter how she was feeling. I’m sure you will all really miss her. You are all in my thoughts and prayers, Val

Doug & Jan Shore

Teaching was certainly an enjoyable avenue for Frankie to reach out to our youth and contribute. So were the hours of dedication that she gave to many community organizations and events. Frankie was the organizer extraordinaire. A skill embraced with great thankfulness and love by all of her family, (all of us in-laws included). When the family needed to come together for whatever reason, Frankie not only arranged it but made it happen. Unfortunately, it is now our time to come together in prayer for her. Our prayers are with you Frankie! Doug and Jan Shore

Jim and Debbie Crea

Offering our heartfelt condolences to Uncle Frank, Kim, Kathy, Rufus, and Jack and Alex


Reva Faber

Frankie will always be in my heart. She was a compassionate, caring and loving friend, Few words needed to be spoken between us for each of us to know and understand what the other was thinking and feeling.

I will forever miss you Frankie and love you “to the moon and back”.

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