George William Francis

George Francis, lifelong resident of Lawrence, Kansas and local business owner, died at the age of 90. He was best known for his store, Francis Sporting Goods which he co-owned with his father Gilbert Francis (established in 1947) and son, Jon Francis, until George’s retirement in 1993.

George was born January 30, 1928 to Bernice Evelyn Starkey Francis and Gilbert Alexander Francis, married Carol Buhler in 1950 and celebrated 64 years of marriage before she passed away March 21, 2015.

George is survived by his children April (Mike) Dwyer, Lawrence, Wendy (Scott) Clay, Desoto, Jay (Doreen) Francis, Topeka, Jon (Julie) Francis, Baldwin, and grandchildren, Madison, Morgan, Anikka, Kyle and Elaina.

George played trumpet for over 70 years, until the age of 83. He was band leader/owner of the Collegians band, played with New Horizons and the Lawrence City Band (concerts in the park) for many years. He was a member of the Jazz House Band, Junkyard Jazz Band, played with Charles Steeper Orchestra, the Varsity Crew Orchestra, Harlen Livingood’s Orchestra and Bob Blum’s Orchestra.

George graduated from Lawrence High School in 1946 and attended Kansas University. He was a previous member of the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Lawrence Association, National Sporting Goods Association, Life Member Local 512 American Federation of Music, Life Member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity, Life member of Masonic Lodge, 32 degree Mason, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and 69 year member of Trinity Episcopal Church.

George was in the Army National Guard for 13 years in Company H, 137th Infantry Regiment with a rank of 1st Lieutenant. He was up for Captain but resigned prior to that.

He was the head starter for many swim meets with the Lawrence Aquahawks from its inception in 1968. He was a 46 year member of the Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club logging over 1400 miles in a canoe. He also was a genealogist tracing the family heritage back through generations.

George was instrumental in helping his wife with the restoration and upkeep of the historic House Building in downtown Lawrence where his business was located.

He survived several strokes and worked his way back to near normal each time with his very special physical therapist of many years, Doug Hitt. He loved canoeing, camping, hunting, fishing and playing his trumpet.

He leaves behind many friends and caregivers at Brandon Woods.

A special thank you to Dr. Eric Huerter.

A Visitation will take place Thursday, August 16, 2018, from 6-7:30 pm, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.

Contributions can be made to the Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club (OWWC) a non-profit that promotes the health of our rivers, or the Lawrence City Band, both sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

Messages & Condolences

From Michele Simpson...

Although I didn’t know Mr. Francis, I was born and raised in Lawrence and “Gib Francis/Francis Sporting Goods” was simply a part of my upbringing. My sympathies to the Francis family.

From Rich Revenew...

George Francis was such a great man and I was honored to have worked with him for many years. He had such a positive influence on my life. I’m so glad I was able to tell him that the last time we talked. I’m thankful for all the opportunities he gave me. I hope you are resting in peace.

From Steve Scannell...

April, Wendy, Jay & Jon – Your dad had an amazingly rich and full life, and made lasting contributions to the history of our town. Francis Sporting Goods always seemed to be part of downtown Lawrence, and was a major draw to it. He and your family contributed to its historic fabric in many ways. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time of loss.

From Carol Wilcox...

Prayers and thoughts are with you at this time. He was a very special man and so liked by others. When ever I saw him, he had a smile that would make you day special.

From Jane Reed Wilson...

To Wendy, April and all of your family, I’m very sorry for your loss. Your father’s store was an iconic part of Lawrence history and I know he and your Mom had an enormous positive impact on the community. With love, Jane (Reed) Wilson

From Melinda Starkey Maturo...

I am so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. May good memories comfort you. God’s Peace to you all.

From Sharon D. Learned...

I’m so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed, and learned, so much thru the years from playing with your Dad in the Lawrence City Band. A truly great trumpeter. Your Mom was an inspiration to all of us swimmers, she kept us going a many time. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

From Bob and Ginny (Virginia Ireland) Beu, Ooltewah, Tennessee...

To children and grandchildren of George and Carol Francis: My wife and I are truly sorry that you lost your dad/grandad.
I was a LMHS classmate of George and Carol, class of 1946.
George and I were band mates and also football team mates on the all victorious 1945 Lawrence Lions. We were fraternity brothers at KU.
He was an exceptionally talented musician and good friend.

From Mike Stogsdill...

So sorry to hear this. I have known the Francis family my entire life. Hoping for the best for all involved.

From Susan Coleman...

My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. I loved George very much. He was a pleasure to assist. What a wonderful man and life he had.

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