George Ray Francis, 80, rural El Dorado Springs, passed away at Cedar County Memorial Hospital on the evening of Jan. 25, 2013, after a long illness. George was born Aug. 20, 1932, in St. Clair County near Tiffin to Leon Ray and Georgia Ann (Schaich) Francis.
George was united in marriage to Virgie Fae Leonard on Nov. 1, 1953, at the Christian Church in Stockton. George and Virgie were married 59 years and to their union five children were born.
George spent his entire life in St. Clair County within two miles of his birthplace. George was born at home and later moved down the road to a house built by his grandfather, James Ira Francis, where he would spend the remainder of his childhood. After marrying Virgie in 1953, they made their home in the Fisher place and lived there until August 1975. With with their four children – Lynn, Mark, Georgie and Gregg – they then moved to the Brackenridge place that they had remodeled. George lived in this home until his death.
George always enjoyed farming, checking his cattle, maintaining his land and most of all spending time with his family. He could be seen on his Ranger doing all his chores and always got joy out of taking his dog, Lady, as well as his family on rides to see the farm and to go fishing. He took joy in attending his grandchildren’s activities and being a part of family get togethers.
George was active in the Masonic Lodge where he received his 50 year pin, served as a Sac Osage Cooperative Board Member for many years, served as an elder on the Pape Christian Church board, was a Young Farmer of the Year and he and his family were Farm Family of the Year in St. Clair County.
Preceding George in death were his parents, Leon Ray Francis and Georgia Ann Schaich; infant son, Steven Ray; and granddaughter, Julie Amanda Francis.
Survivors include his wife, Virgie Fae, of the home; children – Donald Lynn Francis and his wife, RexAnn – El Dorado Springs; Mark Dale Francis and his wife, Rhonda – Concord, NC; Georgie Fae Cook and husband, Kevin of Urbana; and Gregg William Francis – Carthage; six grandchildren – Shannon Francis – El Dorado Springs, Joshua Francis and wife, Dorothy and family – El Dorado Springs, Steven Francis and son – El Dorado Springs, Kendra and Kaylee Cook – Urbana and Devon Francis and wife, Cindy and daughter – Concord, NC; and five great grandchildren. Other survivors include one sister and two brothers – Minnie Swopes – El Dorado Springs, Jim Francis and wife, Joann – Parkville and Jerry Francis – Grand Junction, CO; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services began at 2 p.m. Wed., Jan. 30, in Bland-Hackleman Chapel with Rev. Brent Bland and Rev. Howard McPeak officiating. Interment followed at Hazel Dell Cemetery under the direction of Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home.
Pallbearers were Lynn Francis, Mark Francis, Gregg Francis, Kevin Cook, Joshua Francis and Steven Francis.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Pape Christian Church and left at the funeral home.
Online condolences may be left at www.blandhackleman.com.