We are mourning the loss of our longtime bandmate, Fran Madigan. He died of that modern medical scourge known as cancer, January 9, 2022, surrounded by his loved ones. We knew Fran’s diagnosis was terminal, he was always up-front about it. In fact, Fran had come to a place of acceptance, with grace and gratitude.
The ones who are struggling with acceptance are those left behind. I can truthfully say that Fran was a great musical partner. Our musical collaboration began decades years ago. I was doing a solo pub gig in the Dover Arms on Denman Street, back when musicians were actually paid for live entertainment! In the darkness in the back of the pub, I could hear the most amazing vocal harmonies. Not knowing who it was, after my first set I asked “Who is doing that amazing singing back there?” It was Francis Madigan. He brought his guitar down the next night and the rest, as they say, is history.
Our gigs in the earlier days of Whistler, before the days of Blackcomb, are among my favourite musical memories. By day our recreation was lake fishing, and at night we rocked it up in Tapley’s Pub. They were good times!
Our final musical project was our trio Willy Blizzard. Along with my wife Andrea on double bass, Fran added banjo, guitar and amazing vocals. Fran’s dry sense of humour literally saved us during hard times on the road. We are so thankful to have had these many years with Fran.
Fran lived life on his own terms, more than anyone I know. He was a humble man with a head full of intelligent thoughts and ideas, he was independent, and he believed in justice. The great pride that Fran did hold dear, was the pride he felt in his two children, Kevin and Emily.
Roll that rock, Fran!
John and Andrea