Carol Marie Buhler Francis

Memorial services for Carol Marie Buhler Francis, 87, Lawrence, will be 11 am, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at Trinity Episcopal Church. Visitation will be 6-7 pm Tuesday, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home. Private inurnment at a later time.

Carol Marie Buhler Francis died on Saturday March 21, 2015, in Lawrence, Kansas.

She was born February 9, 1928 in Pretty Prairie, Kansas. She was the youngest of seven children born to Dr. David and Helen Hansmann Buhler. Both of her parents passed away by the time she was seven. In 1936 the family moved to Lawrence, KS for college education opportunities. The oldest sister Esther assumed the role of raising the family.

Carol and George Francis married on June 10, 1950 and enjoyed 64 years together. They had 4 children: April (Mike) Dwyer, Wendy (Scott) Clay, Jay (Doreen Seely) Francis, and Jon (Julie) Francis. Grandchildren include Madison and Morgan Clay, Anikka, Kyle, and Elaina Francis. She is preceded in death by her sisters Esther Paxton, Irene Miller and Helen Ossmann, and brothers, Victor and Everett. She is survived by a sister Geraldine Smith of Lawrence.

She was best known for her devotion to historical preservation efforts and was an active member of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance for many years. August 1, 1978 she purchased the House Building in downtown Lawrence. Her research revealed it as the only building in downtown Lawrence that survived Quantrill’s Raid on August 21, 1863. Through the years, she worked tirelessly to maintain its historical significance and was successful in having it listed on the local, state, and national historic registers. She wrote two books based on her building research: The House Building, A Search for its Foundations and Local Happenings in Lawrence, Kansas 1921-1946. She also put together the book Douglas County, Kansas, Family Histories 1991-1992 Vol. 1.

Carol attended KU studying advertising and journalism. While in school she was a member of Modern Choir, the A Cappella Choir and the women’s Glee Club. She played first violin in the orchestra and oboe in the band. She was elected to Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Alpha Chi, honorary journalism fraternities for women. She edited the K-Union, Student Union activities publication; was publicity chairman for the Student Union Activities and was secretary of the Kansas Board, governing body of the University Daily Kansan. She graduated in 1950 with a degree in advertising and received a Master of Science in Journalism in 1971. She started her career as advertising manager at Weaver’s Department Store. A free lance spirit led her to a second career in writing. She wrote newsletters for the Douglas County Historical Society, was past President and Treasurer for the Kansas Press Women and won numerous awards for her advertising, interviewing and writing skills including the Clarion Award in 2008 from the Association of Women in Communications for her I-Pod version of “Walking Downtown Lawrence”.

She joined the Girls Scouts in 1938 and served in many capacities including the 1st Executive Director of the Lawrence Girl Scout Council. She was also very active in the Lawrence Aquahawks swim team and was 1st meet director. She was deeply committed to Trinity Episcopal Church and served on many committees, in the choir, as a lectern and Sunday school teacher. She was instrumental in the major remodel of the church. Carol was also a member of Delta Gamma Sorority and won the Cable award for her outstanding loyalty. She enjoyed needlework, camping, canoeing, hunting, and swimming. She logged over 1400 miles in a canoe with the Ozark Wilderness Waterways club and won numerous medals swimming in the Senior Olympics at the national level until her early eighties.

In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the Lawrence Preservation Alliance or Trinity Episcopal Church.

Online condolences at

Messages & Condolences

From Lee Ann (Blalock) Martin...

I’m sorry for your loss. I was blessed to have her as my scout leader.

From Jerry and Glee Smith...

Carol touched so many lives in a positive way during her journey of life. She had a unique combination of talents and skills and pursued all of them.

It’s hard to say goodbye to those we love, and it has been particularly difficult for me, because I’ve said goodbye now to all six of my siblings. Her death leaves a heartache that no one can heal – – but it leaves memories that will live on forever.

You have all been so wonderful to see Carol through these last few years. She loved each of you and you are a great legacy. Downtown Lawrence will always be her memorial. The funeral service you planned reflected your love for her. It was beautiful. Peace, peace, peace.

With special caring, love and prayers, Aunt Jerry, Uncle Glee and family.

From Julia Mathias Manglitz...

Carol was a treasure and a lovely soul. She will be missed.

From Jupiter Moon...

My condolences to the family members who knew and loved This amazing woman. Her books and research are amazing and her dedication to historical documentation is outstanding. I especially find of value the historical walks around Lawrence writings. She raised beautiful and strong children who are hardworking and deeply empathetic. The legacy she leaves is filled with hope and promise. She left an indelible mark on downtown Lawrence and in the hearts of many. She truly is a shining spirit and lived her life as a woman of dedication, perseverance, and a community leader with civic conviction. She will be missed. All my love to the Francis Family.

From Sid Smith...

My thoughts are with the entire Francis family during this difficult time. I remember Auntie Carol from my earliest days, when she was still an unmarried college student. She looked after me sometimes, and we had fun together at a swimming pool and the movies! Love from her nephew, Sid Smith

From David & Shawna...

Wendy and the entire Francis Family,

Our thoughts, prayers and love is with you during this difficult time.

You each have another Angel on your shoulder!

Much Love,
David, Shawna and Taylor

From Monica and Chris...

To Jon and Julie and all the Francis Family,
Our deepest sympathies for your loss. Mrs Francis has left quite a legacy through her beautiful family and in the Lawrence community. She will be missed by so many.

Ours hearts go out to all of you.

Chris Nichols
And Monica Markway

From Dennis and Judy Dailey...

Jon and Jay, we are so sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. She will surely be missed, particularly her deep devotion to historic preservation. She was very helpful in my (Dennis) own historic writing. We will hold you all in our thoughts at this sad time for you and your families.

From Valerie Farley Moreau...

My deepest sympathies to Wendy and all of the Francis family at this time of loss…

Valerie Farley Moreau

From Dennis Jones...

Very sad to hear this, thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Feel privileged to have known her.

From Anne & Al Hussar...

To the Francis Family,
Our heartfelt sympathy to the whole family. Carol will be missed by all of us her path crossed over the years.
Peace on the river!

Anne & Al

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