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Prairie State Canoeists

A Northeast Illinois Canoe and Kayak Club

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Fran Almquist 1929-2018

2018-09-30 2:28 PM | Website Admin2 (Administrator)

From Fran's son, Karl:

Frances Almquist (Fran), a long time member of Prairie State Canoeists, died Saturday September 29th surrounded by her family.

Fran was born on November 25, 1929 and raised in Chicago. In early 1950 she traveled to the Grand Canyon in Arizona to work at the Bright Angel Lodge as a Harvey girl. It was at the Grand Canyon that her deep love for nature was fostered. Fran raised her sons to love the outdoors. Their earliest memories are of trips to places like Four Lakes and Wilmot Ski Hills, Waterfall Glen, Starved Rock and Devil Lake state parks. She encouraged people to explore and to be fearless. She loved downhill and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, camping and spending time with her friends on the river. Fran traveled the National Parks and to all continents with the exception of Australia. Her joy was found on the water, be it a lake, river or stream. She logged over 100 plus rivers. Fran spent as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors. She would often say that nature was her religion.

Over her years of travel, mom met many people who became her friends. She often talked about many of you and appreciated the time she spent with you doing the things she loved to do.

Fran’s last trip earlier this September to Wisconsin was to one of her favorite rivers, the Flambeau. During her last days, she told us about the wonderful trip she had with good friends.

Fran will be greatly missed by her family and friends. In her memory, please take a walk, canoe a river, visit a park, and share your passion for whatever you do with the people you love. ​


  • 2020-02-26 11:54 AM | Daniel Lonngren
    This a little belated but I hope it finds you somehow.
    I took a moving water class that Fran was instructing. I noticed immediately how she moved on the water, so effortless and (cliche warning) one with the river. I was hoping to take more classes with her.

    She drove me back to my car on that day and I had the pleasure to talk with her for awhile.

    Good human is all I can say.
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