Laura was an extraordinary woman. Born in 1927 to Italian immigrant parents, Angelina and Saverio Fruno, who homesteaded in Armstrong before moving to Port Kells, Laura was the lucky 13th of 15 children. Even as a child she loved to dance, competing as a Scottish Highland dancer, and dancing with her many older brothers (who called her Lou) at every dance. She was a prodigious worker, earning her pocket money by cutting peat, picking beans and blackberries, before she went to Normal School and became a teacher. She taught for 6 years, from a one room school house in Barnhartville to Steveston. Her students loved her, and even 60 years after teaching them, would still recognize her and call out to Miss Fruno and introduce themselves as one of her grade 1 or 3 students. At church bingo, Laura met the love of her life, Ernie Arsenault, « Twinkletoes », who was the successful suitor, beating out several others, because he danced a great Foxtrot and had a wonderful smile. Laura and Ernie enjoyed 63 years of adventures together, raising 8 children, and doing so much for their church and community. Laura baked and sewed and grew a big garden, all while lovingly caring for us, correcting our grammar, and distracting us with song. How she managed to raise 8 children, getting us to church and school clean and on time, leaves us in awe. Many of us inherited mom’s optimism, love of reading and singing and dancing, and certainly her FOMO! She loved to play games and especially loved to win! She was known as Lucky Lou to her family and many friends who played games with her. In the community, mom served as president of the Catholic Women’s League, president of the Women’s Hospital Auxiliary, and in many other volunteer capacities, including sewing buttons and zippers on clothes donated to the thrift shop until shortly before her stroke.
She was deeply loved by and proud of her children Gary (Sharon), Theresa (Stuart), Dale, Ida (Franco), Randy, Annette (Calvin), Darryl (Della), Joe (Adaline), and 21 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. She loved to tell everybody about all of them. We are so grateful to the very kind staff of Bastion and to Dr. Levins, for the excellent care and love she received. She was deeply beloved and will be sadly missed, but we are comforted by knowing she is dancing with Ernie in heaven. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shuswap General Hospital Foundation.
Prayer Vigil at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 60 1st St. SE, Salmon Arm, Thursday, Sept 22 at 5:00 pm.
Funeral Mass at St Joseph’s, Friday Sept 23 at 3:00 pm.