A lifetime resident of the Morrisburg area, Allen Froats passed away at the Ottawa Civic Hospital on Friday, January 22, 2016. He was 54.
Allen was born in Winchester, on April 26, 1961, and was baptized a year later on April 26, 1962, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Riverside Heights.
His father Henry Allen Froats and his mother Evelyn Theresa Doreen Charbot raised Allen along with his sisters Cathy, Doreen, Heather and Rose.
Allen’s life started out like any other, but when he was just three years old he suffered a severe and debilitating case of the measles which led to a gradual decline in his coordination and cognitive abilities.
As a result, when Allen attended Public School in Riverside Heights, he was set apart from the other children and eventually enrolled in a school in Hulbert for children with special needs.
Emerging from these circumstances as one of the kindest persons you’d ever want to meet and one of the most gifted craftsmen, is a story of incredible perseverance and dedication to making the best of whatever circumstances one faces in life.
A great deal of credit needs to be given to his loving father and mother and his four doting sisters…not to mention the many aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends who gave Allen a solid family base from which to launch his adventures in woodworking and just about any other thing he’d set his mind on.
Allen was always busy doing something. He loved putting together model car kits of which he had an extensive collection. Sometimes he could busy himself for hours constructing little houses using Popsicle sticks, wooden matches and toothpicks.
When he was 18 years old, Allen went to a workshop in Morrisburg, where he was prevented from using many of the tools and machinery. But that didn’t deter Allen. He enjoyed watching and carefully observing how things were done.
Years later he not only learned how to use those kinds of machines and tools, but he went about steadily purchasing items one by one and setting up a fabulous woodworking shop in the basement of the house he shared with his mother. It didn’t happen overnight either.
In the year 2000, Allen underwent surgery to install an artificial valve for his heart. After that he really began to get serious about his woodworking. He started with a bench saw and router and a very small collection of hand tools and began to make things for his home and family.
Although unable to read printed instructions, he would just look at something he wanted to make and draw up his own plans and proceed to make it!
Bookcases, wall units, small and large cabinets, chests of drawers, a grandfather clock, benches and cupboards. An inventory of his creations would baffle you. He was relentless.
Recently, he began working to make a captain’s bed, something he’d always wanted. That job will have to be completed by someone else in the family now.
In fact, there are a lot of jobs the family is going to have to look after now that Allen has passed away.
Not only was he a great woodworker, but Allen could fix and help maintain things like snowmobiles, dirt bikes, bicycles, mopeds, the lawn mower and his mother’s car.
Like his father before him, Allen was a jack-of-all-trades. And better yet, Allen wasn’t afraid to do housework either.
He cooked, he did laundry, he scrubbed floors, everything a handy helper would be called upon to do, and all of it with a smile.
Allen was always doing whatever he could for other people, and he was friendly to one and all. He was so helpful and thoughtful. In church he would always volunteer to take up the offering.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg, on Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral service was held at the funeral home on Wednesday, January 27th at 11 a.m., with Rev. Joachim Barkley-Probst officiating.
Interment will be in the spring at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Riverside Heights.
Donations to the St. John’s Lutheran Church or the Ottawa Heart Institute would be gratefully acknowledged by the family. Online condolences may be made at marsdenmclaughlin.com.