A tale of two sons – Mike Franjkovic
Story by Casey Lessard
“There were three trucks,” Stan Franjkovic explains. “It was a slushy day; really bad weather. A lot of trucks on the road and one of them went by and splashed him on his windshield and he couldn’t see, lost control and went over into the other side. The other truck was following so close and hit him. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those freak accidents. If the other truck hadn’t been behind, he would have been calling asking me to come get him out of the ditch. That just didn’t happen.”
Instead, Stan received a call.
“I was here at the house. Mike had left about 10 minutes before I got up to go to work at seven o’clock in the morning. He just got dressed and went to work. I got a call about eight o’clock and it was his company saying ‘He’s not at work, has he left?’ That’s when I started thinking something is wrong. I tried to call his cell phone several times and couldn’t get through. Then I called the police and said, ‘Is there an accident on the road between here and St. Marys?’ They wouldn’t tell me anything. Then I really started to panic. I was just ready to start driving out to follow the path he took to work and I saw the policeman drive up. I knew something wasn’t right.”
Stan and Mike’s mom Lesley Hailstone had moved to North Middlesex to raise Mike and his twin sisters in a country setting.
“He was surrounded by nature and raised chickens and bunnies. He set up a stall and sold sweet corn.”
“He was always around if someone was in need because of a tragedy,” Stan says. “He had a lot of friends.”
At 23, Mike was set to be engaged later that year, and to get married the year after. His girlfriend’s brother died of Hodgkin’s disease, so he sympathized with the battle his friend Bryan Wiersma was fighting just before the two died one month apart.
“All their friends were spread out and came home twice in one month for sad occasions,” Lesley says. “They wanted to do something to remember the boys but in a happier setting. They decided on this golf tournament. It’s a win-win situation because there’s so much need in the community for fundraising.”
Julie McClinchey and Michelle Cocksworth got the tournament started and it’s now in its fifth year.
“You wonder what might have been,” Lesley says. “He was just getting started. We were really fortunate that he had moved back and was living at home for eight months prior to his death. It was nice to get to know him as a young man.”
Stan wishes something would be done to prevent another family suffering the pain of their loss.
“There’s no need for the trucks to go so fast on these country roads,” he says. “We found out from a reconstruction of the accident that they were traveling at 125 km/h in bad weather in January on a country road. Just recently neighbours of ours were killed, too.”
“You feel for the families and the upheaval that it causes,” Lesley adds. “We think of Mike all the time. Because he’s here. His spirit is here.”