Husband: Frank William Voisin
Wife: Glady Rose Voll
Born: 10 March 1921
Died: 07 September 2008
Frank William Voisin:
Recognition: 21 January 2012, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Two local Catholics to be honoured by pope
Jan 07, 2012 Waterloo Region Record
WATERLOO REGION — Two local men will be recognized for their commitment to the Catholic faith with the honours coming all the way from the pope.
Frank Clifford and Frank Voisin are among nine Catholic men and women who received the Papal Honours presented to them by the Hamilton Diocese in November. They will get their medal on Jan. 21.
“I come from a poor family. I never would have guessed as I went through life that something like this would happen to me. I’m very honoured,’’ said Voisin, now 89, and who still goes to his office at Voisin Developments in Kitchener five days a week.
“I’m honoured but worried at the same time,’’ said a humbled Frank Clifford.
“It was not just Frank Clifford. I had great people with me who contributed, but unfortunately there is only one award,’’ said the 81-year-old Waterloo man who was instrumental in bringing full funding to the Catholic school system in Ontario in the mid-1980s.
Both men will receive their decorated medal at a mass at Our Lady of Lourdes on Jan. 21. Bishop Douglas Crosby will bestow the honours.
The papal honours are similar to the secular award of the Order of Canada, said Msgr. Vincent Kerr of the Hamilton Diocese.
The bishop chooses the recipients, and the list receives final approval by Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Gregory XVI founded the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1831 to reward men and women for their recognition and service to the Church and their good example to the community.
The decoration is an eight-pointed red-enamelled gold cross impressed with the image of St. Gregory. It is suspended from a red and gold ribbon.
Voisin, who previously received the Knight of St. Gregory in 1989, will receive the highest award — the Knight Commander with Star of St. Gregory. Clifford will receive the Knight of St. Gregory the Great.
Msgr. Edward Sheridan, parish priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Waterloo knows both recipients well. Both men attend his church.
“They are both outstanding in their fields and as Catholics in the community,’’ he said. “They are very deserving individuals.’’
Voisin has a long record of service to local Catholic groups and organizations, including 48 years as treasurer for The Committee of the Carmelite Nuns, member of the board of trustees and chair of St. Mary’s Hospital, and member of many advisory committees including the Congregation of the Resurrection.
Voisin, a local home builder most of his life, built 950 homes in Kitchener-Waterloo. While developing the subdivision of Forest Hill in Kitchener, Voisin made room for six churches on Westmount Road, selling the land at cost.
Voisin also built the Sunrise Shopping Centre in Kitchener. His sons followed in his footsteps with Greg Voisin leading The Broadwalk development on Ira Needles Boulevard and Mac Voisin, owner of M & M Meatshops.
Voisin grew up in a working class family. His father worked at Dominion Rubber, a tire factory on Strange Street in Kitchener for 38 years. During the winter months, his father was laid off from work because most people didn’t drive their cars in the winter because tires weren’t made for snowy conditions.
As the oldest of six, Voisin recalls going to the butcher shop to buy a 15-cent bone “with just a little bit of meat on it” so his mother could make soup for the family.
Voisin, who was born and raised in Roman Catholic home, served as an altar boy and continued with his faith when he met his wife, Glady.
His wife, who passed away in 2008, was a committed believer who went to church every day.
“I hit the jackpot with her,’’ said Voisin, who was married for 62 years.
The Voisins had five biological children and adopted four more. There are now 26 grandchildren and 31 great grand children.
In his shirt pocket, Voisin carries a folded piece of paper with the name of every person in his family which amounts to 87 people.
A large family, a handful of whom are educators as well, defines the Cliffords. Clifford’s five adult children are employed in education, whether as a teacher, consultant or board superintendents.
Two of his 17 grandchildren are teachers and two others are soon-to-be teachers. The Cliffords have two great grandchildren.
Clifford started teaching at 19 and met his wife while both were elementary teachers in Welland.
Clifford then taught at a teacher’s college in Stratford before going to Peterborough to become principal of the teacher’s college there. He became a superintendent at the Hamilton separate school board and then director of education for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board in 1975.
He was in the region for about 10 years before being appointed to a provincial government committee charged with the implementation of full funding for Catholic schools in Ontario.
Clifford recalls receiving a call from the then Minister of Education who told him “we need a Catholic in here.’’
In June 1984, Bill Davis’ government said it was going to introduce full funding to Catholic schools and it took two years before it was official. Clifford went on to chair a committee to start the College of Teachers for Ontario.
Clifford remembers that time as challenging with “a few tense moments.’’ He visited many boards across the province and spoke to parents’ groups about the move.
He also visited public boards across the province, asking them to give up a high school so that the Catholics could have the school.
“The key was that we were organized,’’ he said. “Parents wanted a religious element to their children’s education. They didn’t just want it on Saturdays or Sundays.’’
Clifford said the creation of full funding of Catholic schools wasn’t just adding another subject but living out the faith.
“It’s the integration of faith development with academic development,’’ he said.
“I feel privileged to be given the position to help complete the separate school system and funding it right up to Grade 13,’’ Clifford said.
Citation: Mike Voisin, iSeeAncestors (http://iSeeAncestors.com/tree/groups/public/grpf25585.html : revised December 06, 2017), Frank William Voisin & Glady Rose Voll.
Revised: December 06, 2017
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