A legacy of compassion

Humane society benefits from woman's life-long love for animals

Eloise Frary believed animals had a soul if they were loved properly by people, said her daughter, Sidney Johnson.

"My mother believed animals, if loved by people, had a soul, which is why she always believed they deserved so much individual attention," Johnson said.

One of Johnson's most vivid memories growing up was always having new animals that her parents had rescued.

"My parents were always rescuing animals," she said. "It always seemed the animals would find them. One time a cat just landed on their screen door and they adopted it."

Johnson's description of her mother's life-long love for animals makes Frary's recent funeral notice in the Craig Daily Press easy to understand.

It read, "Memorial donations may be made to the Hayden Eastern Star Chapter or the Moffat County Humane Society."

Although Frary, 91, died unexpectedly in her sleep about two weeks ago, Johnson said her mother had made it clear where she wanted donations to go after she died.

"She couldn't think of any other memorial she would rather support," Johnson said. "For her memorial she had said she wanted people to donate money to the humane society instead of buying flowers."

What is ironic is the timeliness of the humane society getting its start in Moffat County and Frary's death.

Sandra Kruczek, president of the newly formed Humane Society of Moffat County, was friends with Eloise, and made a visit to Eloise's husband, Father John Frary, in the days following his wife's death.

Kruczek said the volunteers trying to get the humane society started in the area had just completed the process of becoming a non-profit organization, which means it had just become eligible to accept donations.

But the humane society bank still sat empty the day Kruczek visited Father Frary.

"He was reminiscing about how Eloise loved animals and was always taking in strays," she said. "He must have been reading the upcoming events about the humane society in the newspaper, because he said 'Let me make a donation in Eloise's name for $100.' He sat and wrote out a check in memory of Eloise."

It was the first donation to an organization that Kruczek hopes will thrive in Moffat County.

"At that time we did not have any money," she said. "That was our first donation. That was the seed that will be the springboard of this humane society."

Had it been a week earlier, Kruczek said she would have had to decline Frary's offer.

"A week before that we could not have legally accepted donations," she said. "But this was the first official donation to the formal organization."

That fact that the first donation to the local humane society came in honor of Eloise Frary is symbolic, Kruczek said.

"She was such a great lover of animals always taking in strays," she said.

Johnson remembered one story in particular of her mother rescuing an animal.

"She found a stray Chihuahua in the street and his eyes were running," she said. "She took him in the house, cleaned out his eyes and cared for him. That's just an example of how she lived."

From then on the little dog was known as "Puck," and Puck was protective of the woman who had so generously rescued him, Johnson said.

Eloise had a specific chair in her home in which she always sat, and she would keep items on the table next to the chair.

Puck faithfully guarded that table and chair, Johnson said.

"You could not take something off of the table next to her chair," she said. "He would bark and bark if you did."

One reason Eloise adopted so many animals might have been the fact that she saw beauty in the ragged, homeless creatures that no one else could see, Johnson said.

"She looked for things that no one else paid attention to," she said.

Eloise's watchful eye for beauty is demonstrated in the stacks of scrapbooks she left behind.

She kept papers, articles, poems, photographs and paintings.

Many of the clippings were about animals.

"She was horrified at stories about cruelty to animals," Johnson said.

But basically, she clipped anything she found to be beautiful, Johnson said.

"She kept them because they were beautiful," she said. "She was very much aware of the beauty around her. She looked for things that no one else paid attention to."

Father Frary, who was married to Eloise for 48 years, said he lost count of how many animals he and his wife adopted during their time together.

"Both of us have had and loved animals our entire married life," he said.

Eloise was caring for two cats and one dog, Lucky, when she died.

"I miss her very much and so do our animals," Frary said. "Lucky has been sitting looking fixedly at her chair. He misses mistress terribly."

As far as the memorial money for the humane society, Frary said Eloise would not have wanted it any other way.

"It was her idea," he said. "She said 'Don't have a bunch of flowers, have them give the money to the humane society.'"

Commenting has been disabled for this item.