Like his namesake father before him, my grandfather, Francis (Frank) Xavier Beingessner Jr., born in 1886, was proudly Canadian, and was doubly proud to also be known as a farmer. In 1906, he and four brothers left the struggling family farm in Ontario, to join their father who had earlier travelled alone to Alberta to locate alternative potential homesteads that would allow for a fresh start for the entire family. Together they, both literally and figuratively, established new roots on multiple sections of raw land near Champion, Alberta. Shortly thereafter, my grandfather’s mother, Mary, and his sisters would travel west to be reunited as a family.
My grandfather wore his German heritage with great pride. He greatly respected and admired the sacrifices of his own grandfather Joseph, who, in 1848, reluctantly relinquished his own farmland near Strasbourg, in Alsace-Lorraine, Germany. Like many others, he did so in search of a better life for his family. He would ultimately settle and homestead in Formosa, Ontario, about 60 miles northwest of Waterloo. Some years later, in 1867, he and his wife Maria would celebrate, with their eleven children, the Confederation of Canada.
Through World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II, my grandfather, along with his father and brothers would – despite sometimes unforgiving droughts and locust infestations – work the land with dignity, and always without complaint. In the midst of that same period, my grandfather would wed my American-born grandmother, Mary, and they would raise their six children, including my own father, Harold. Unfortunately, by the early 1950s, with more bills to pay than meagre farm income would allow, my grandfather, like many others in his community, had no choice but to surrender his land to the bank that held his by-then-defaulted mortgage. A profound loss such as this could easily have produced a bitterness in a lesser man. Yet my grandfather, well-grounded in his own humility, his integrity, and his Catholic faith, bore no ill will. Instead, with his head held high, he, like his father and grandfather before him, simply moved on to the next chapter of his life. Fittingly, he did so with an unwavering passion for his family, for his proud German heritage, for his adopted province, and, above all, for his beloved Canada.
Kevin B – Coril Holdings Ltd.