Ray Francis passed away peacefully at home the morning of February 15, 2022, with his beloved wife of sixty-five years, Barbara, by his side. After 88 years of incredible health, Ray was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2020. He spent the last 16 months doing what he’s done all his life—enjoying his family and friends, being appreciative for a remarkable life, expressing his love and making sure he didn’t ‘create any fuss’. He left us on his terms; at peace, grateful for his life and knowing he was loved.
Ray was born July 5, 1932 (as he always said, “the firecracker that went off a day late”). Born to Albert and Evangeline Francis of Detroit, Michigan, Ray was one of four and the eternally protective brother to his beloved sisters Sharon, Estelle, and Mary Lynn. After high school at St. James in Ferndale, Michigan, where he established life-long friendships, he entered the service and served as a Military Policeman in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany during the Korean War. It’s there where he fell in love with the mountains and perfected his bowling game. Afterwards he attended the University of Detroit where he met his homecoming queen, got married and started a family. Ray was a successful CPA and co-founder of his firm, Clement & Francis (where he lived until April 15 of every year).
Ray was a devout Catholic and was sustained by his lifelong faith and devotion to his parish family at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in White Lake, Michigan.
Ray was an avid skier, perpetual whistler, boatsman, fisherman, card and billiards shark, Irish-shanty singer and pheasant hunter. He fulfilled a life-long dream by getting his pilot’s license at the age of 60. Skateboarding at 75 was an unwise decision but he was a terror on a jet ski at 88. Ray was also a passionate golfer who played the best courses in the world (with one hole in one!) and leaves behind his amazing handicap and, in death, forgives any unpaid bets.
Ray traveled the world with enthusiasm and endless curiosity. He dined on pig snouts in Italy, slalomed the Zugspitze in Germany, dodged hippos in Botswana, cruised the Mediterranean and the Caribbean seas, made par at St. Andrews and sprinted up the Great Wall of China.
In addition to his wife Barbara, Ray is survived by his grateful children and thirteen grandchildren he adored: Michael (Berit) Francis and their children Evan, Carter, Crosbie and Marit. Anne (Jeff) Mattack and their children Mickey, Claire, Maddie and Carly Mattack. Sue (Casey) Day and their son Max Day. Mark (Kelly) Francis and their daughters Avery and Riley. Matthew (Carie) Francis and their children Kate and Cody. He is also survived by his sister, Mary Lynn Sizemore, and a vast and well-loved family of nieces, nephews, in-laws and dear friends and neighbors.
The family would like to extend their special thanks to all who cared for Ray at home—especially Dan and Nancy Mitch of White Lake, Michigan and Glen and Karen Austen of Sun City West, Arizona as well as the remarkable and kind doctors and nurses who cared for him. Special thanks to Dr. Michelene Liebman and her team at the Charach Cancer Center, The Laurus Hospice team and the entire staff and care team of Independence Village of White Lake.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made to Ray’s favorite charities: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or The Capuchin Soup Kitchen of Detroit.
A celebration of life mass and gathering is being planned by the family with details to follow.