Fran Nayman was the anti-Scrooge, giving until the very end
If one needed a reminder of the meaning of Christmas, it could be found in the life of Fran Nayman. One of the last things he did was arrange to have 27 of his annual Christmas gift baskets made up at Watt Farms.
Fran could reasonably be regarded as the anti-Scrooge. Though it wasn’t unusual for him to respond, “Mean and miserable!” when asked how he was doing. Fran was, in fact, as generous as they come.
For nearly 20 years, Fran dealt with the effects of a physically debilitating stroke. He relied on a walker and the assistance of others to help negotiate stairs. After heart procedures, Fran resided for several months at The Landing and, later, Clover Hill. He was in and out of The Orleans County Nursing Home a couple of times.
Periodically, he spent time in Medina Hospital. No matter where he was, he had no complaints and always insisted the food was greatas long as there was enough of it!
Every time he went into another assisted living setting, speculation abounded that his working years had surely ended. Every time, I cautioned, “Don’t be too sure.” The rejoinder was, “Well, how will he do it?” I invariably responded, “The same way he did it before.” Every time, Fran proved his doubters wrong.
Within the last year we had implored him to close his shop on the Tuesdays and Thursdays when he normally did physical therapy. Though he didn’t seem to resent the suggestion, he wouldn’t think of it.
Fran lived life his way and died doing what he enjoyedbeing at his beloved shop, available to anyone who needed a part. But Heaven help those who entered without a part number!
The Christmas baskets were an indication of his focus on others. His commitment to the community that was part of him, however, extended to the Albion Fire Department, The Ministry of Concern, Holy Family Parish, The Orleans County Nursing Home and Community Action, to name a few. Fran was about public interest advocacy. His focus was the “Bob Cratchitts” of the Orleans County.
Sometimes we think we have it all figured out. But Fran Nayman is a testament to the Christian Spirit and the limits of human endurance. In many ways his too short life defied the odds. His parents could not have been any more proud of the man he became.
Gary F. Kent