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Edwin Franczak, Lives Lived Oct. 28/10
Edwin Franczak, Lives Lived Oct. 28/10

Lives Lived

Edwin John Franczak Add to ...

Family physician, husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, Boston Bruins fan. Born Feb. 12, 1938, in Toronto. Died May 27 in Toronto of complications from cancer, aged 72.

An old family photograph from the forties shows a young boy dressed in shorts, matching jacket and cap, his hands on his hips and exhibiting a confident grin that would suggest he had just won the lottery. And for the most part, he did. At an early age, Ed Franczak exhibited great organizational skills by creating and overseeing betting arrangements with his mates in the schoolyard. Like most Depression-era kids, he was always looking at creative enterprises to scrounge up a few pennies for treats.

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Ed was the first of four boys born to Polish immigrants John and Teresa Franczak. He excelled academically as well as athletically, much to the dismay of his father, who questioned the sanity of risking head and limbs in the pursuit of sport. But Ed's love of sports laid the foundation for entrance to McMaster University, where he played on the varsity football and hockey teams, becoming a "letterman" in both. In 1962, Ed entered the University of Western Ontario medical school.

Ed married Olga Leporis in 1961 and had sons Mike and Stephen while still in school. These were lean times. Olga, a nurse, maintained the financial end while Ed maintained the marks. After interning at Toronto East General Hospital, Ed later entered into medical practice. Daughter Susan soon followed.

Ed was caring and generous with his time and knew that medical advice and expertise was only a small part of patient care; a hug for a patient dealing with a personal loss was no less important than writing up a prescription. His dedication to his patients was admired by many and in some families he was the primary health-care provider for three generations. He continued making house calls even when he was beginning to feel ill with cancer. It seemed there were always others who needed more help than he did.

Ed never embraced e-mail technology, believing a handwritten note was far more efficient and personal. Many in the family were regular recipients of the "Eddie" letters, which would include, in addition to greetings, clippings from medical journals, lottery tickets, newspaper articles and as much stuff as a postage stamp would allow. He was never one to waste a resource, a testament to his early years.

Ed loved his profession and retiring from it just a few months before his death was a difficult step. He felt that dealing with people gave him purpose, but especially that solving his patients' health-related issues kept him mentally sharp and engaged.

In rare moments when Ed pondered his years, he was fond of using "hockeyisms" - stating that his game of life was well played, and now that it was going into the final minutes of the third period, the best he could hope for was a little overtime. It is with great regret that Ed never got to play in overtime.

By Donald Franczak, Ed's brother.

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