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.