A Joy-filled Farewell for Ellen Frank

Ellen Frank, self-described ‘Jewish lesbian feminist mother, grandmother and activist,’ passed away in Vancouver Jan. 30.

On Jan. 30, 2017, Ellen Frank, a loving mother and grandmother, cherished centre of an extensive network of family, friends and political allies, a life-long activist for women’s liberation, lesbian rights and all other human rights, author and filmmaker, passed away in Vancouver.

Despite receiving a multiple sclerosis diagnosis three decades ago, Ellen worked steadily and courageously in the years following the diagnosis, devoting her life to justice, love and freedom. She leaves many to mourn her and to remember her vibrant personality, her keen mind, her courage, and her sense of humour, which never faltered, even in her painful last months.

Ellen was grateful that recent federal legislation allowed her to choose the option of a physician-assisted death, which meant she ended her life the way she had lived it — on her own terms, with dignity and courage. In the last hour of her life, she told the friends and family members who had been gathering at her bedside for several weeks, singing, laughing, weeping and telling stories: “This has been better than I could have ever imagined.”

Ellen Frank was born May 27, 1947, in Hoboken, New Jersey, the only child of Marian and Morris Novik. She grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey. After high school, Ellen moved to Manhattan, where she met and married Ralph Frank. Together they travelled to Vancouver in 1969 and went on to spend a year in Israel.

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