FRANCES EVELYN MURDOCH
(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 HS 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 Bldg (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 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
Frances' family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by sharing photos, memories, and stories, using the comment section on this page.
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