Bemrose, Frederick Albert
On July twenty-fourth, Paris, Ontario lost one of its most popular and respected citizens when Fred Bemrose passed away in Brantford General Hospital. He was 99. Born in Paris and a lifelong resident of the town, he was one of its most enthusiastic and knowledgeable advocates, serving for almost four decades as the first curator of the Paris Historical Society, founded in his living room by a group of history buffs in 1972. After his 1981 retirement from Penman’s Knitgoods Ltd., where he worked as a salesman covering south-western Ontario, he turned full-time to the business of collecting hundreds of old photographs, artifacts and records, as well as writing a weekly history column in the Paris Star. People were constantly writing Fred to find out about their forebears, and he always took as much time as was necessary to help them, as careful about getting his facts straight as he was about dressing stylishly. A handsome, charismatic man, Fred was the son of working-class parents, Gertie and Walt Bemrose, who immigrated to Canada from the English Midlands in 1910. The Depression forced him to leave school early to work in Penman’s, though he gave up neither his extensive reading nor his music. Over the years, he played solo cornet in the Paris band, sang in the Presbyterian church choir, and played the piano with a light and easy touch. Somehow he also found time to serve on the Paris library board, including several years as chairman. In 2004, Fred was predeceased by his beloved Jean, his wife of 61 years. He is survived by sisters Lucy and Gladys, daughter Kathryn Bemrose and her partner, Ashley Johnson, son John and his wife, Cathleen Hoskins, granddaughter Alix Bemrose and her husband, Matthew Remski, great-grandson Jacob, and in-laws Cal and Marguerite Reid.