Ray Francis died peacefully at home on 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 has spent the last 16 months doing what he has done his whole life: enjoy his family and friends, enjoying a remarkable life, expressing his love and making sure he didn’t “create a fuss”. He left us on his terms; at peace, grateful for his life and knowing he was loved.
Ray was born on 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 of his beloved sisters Sharon, Estelle and Mary Lynn. After high school at St. James in Ferndale, Michigan, where he made lifelong friendships, he entered the service and served as a military policeman in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany during the Korean War. It was there that he fell in love with the mountains and perfected his bowling game. Then 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 each year).
Ray was a devout Catholic and was sustained by his lifelong faith and dedication to his parish family at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in White Lake, Michigan.
Ray was an avid skier, perpetual whistler, boatman, fisherman, card and billiard shark, Irish singer and pheasant hunter. He fulfilled a lifelong dream by obtaining his pilot’s license at the age of 60. Skateboarding at 75 was a reckless decision but he was a terror on a jet ski at 88. Ray was also an avid golfer who played the best courses in the world. world (with a hole in one!) and leaves behind his incredible handicap and, in death, forgives any unpaid bets.
Ray traveled the world with endless enthusiasm and curiosity. He’s dined on pig snouts in Italy, slalomed the Zugspitze in Germany, dodged hippos in Botswana, criss-crossed the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas, pared at St. Andrews and sprinted the Great Wall of China.
Besides his wife Barbara, Ray is survived by his grateful children and thirteen grandchildren whom 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 large and beloved family of nieces, nephews, in-laws and dear friends and neighbors.
The family would like to especially thank everyone 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 wonderful doctors and nurses and kind who took care of him. A special thank you to Dr. Michelene Liebman and her team at Charach Cancer Center, the team at Laurus Hospice, and the entire staff and care team at Independence Village in 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 Mass and Gathering of Life is planned by the family with details to follow.