The Most Romantic Man on the Planet
Champagne and romance are not what someone might expect to find at McNally House, but Frank Huskins, named the “most romantic man on the planet” by his partner Anne Kravchenko, made that happen.
Frank met Anne at a difficult time. Her sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer and Anne was not ready for a new relationship. Undeterred, Frank wooed her with emails, dinners and even a birthday serenade. Anne was swept away by Frank’s gentle sensitivity, and the two of them eventually moved into a house together here in Grimsby. They surrounded themselves with their extended families and their wide circle of friends, all woven together with music, parties and a spontaneous sense of adventure.
Frank was a high school history teacher, whose kind heart and carefully chosen words inspired his students and often led to life changing moments for some of them. He and Anne established “Grimstock” in their back yard: a celebration of music that raised funds for MS. His generosity of spirit also led him to volunteer at McNally House, where he would go from room to room with his guitar, serenading each resident with songs of their choice.
Frank continued serenading until July of 2017, when he was diagnosed with a very rare and very aggressive form of cancer. Sadly, it affected his voice, and after developing a horrible cough, he lost his singing voice altogether. After that, his health deteriorated rapidly and Anne was no longer able to give him the care he needed. He was given a two-2 week prognosis, and shortly after, came to McNally House as a resident.
His music had endeared him to all the staff and volunteers at McNally, and while they were shocked and saddened to see him as a resident, Frank felt safe and comfortable. He defied the two-week limit he had been given, and bounced back with a renewed spirit. Anne stayed by his side, sleeping in his room almost every night and being on hand each day. They talked long into the night, sharing their hopes and dreams, and discussing the hard realities of his situation. One evening, as Anne was tucking Frank into bed, he told her that they had “one more thing to discuss.” He asked her to go into his knapsack and pull out a small package. It was a beautiful diamond and amethyst ring that hIs daughter had chosen online, knowing that Frank would be delighted with it. Frank smiled, and said, “So girl, marry me?” Anne dissolved into tears and answered, “of course.”
The next morning, Anne began planning for the wedding, to be held that night. She bought plastic plates and glasses and a fun little tiara from the local Dollar Store, but then McNally House staff caught wind of the event and told her, “we got this.” They quickly and smoothly moved into action, contacting volunteers and local businesses. The Watering Can eagerly donated stunning arrangements of flowers that filled the living room where the wedding was to be held. Bryan Macaulay of Village Studio Photography in Grimsby responded to the call by saying, “How can I say no to that?”. His photographs captured all the warmth, love and happiness of the event. The volunteers pitched in and provided a videographer, decorations and trays of food.
By that evening, the living room had been transformed into a chapel, with rows of chairs, and flowers and candles everywhere. The kitchen became a banquet hall with the table full of delicious food and champagne glasses sparkling on silver trays. Anne and her family provided a cake and the wedding bouquets.
Frank’s comfort was important to everyone and as pyjamas made him feel most at ease, Anne asked her sister to go shopping and find her a pair of white pyjamas for her wedding outfit. Word spilled out to the family, and when the guests arrived, everyone, even the minister, wore pyjamas as a token of love and solidarity for the bridal couple. Anne wore a halo of white flowers to complete her look, and her flowers were an exuberant bouquet of sunflowers and other bright and cheerful blooms.
The wedding took place at seven o’clock, punctuated by tears and highlighted by the most incredible moment. Frank found his singing voice and serenaded Anne one more time as they had their first dance as man and wife. The song, written and recorded by Frank, bought all to tears. Even after the wedding, Anne and Frank’s love story continues as they enjoy their time together here at McNally House.
Anne and Frank’s wedding is one of the many beautiful and heartfelt moments that McNally House has had the privilege to be a part of, celebrating life, love, and compassion.
McNally House’s mission is to bring compassionate care to families like the Kravchenko-Huskins. McNally provides free of charge, 24-hour specialized end-of-life care to people living with a life-limiting illness, as well as those in their life circle.
But they can’t do it without you.