EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 11, 2013

Thomas M. Francis, 66

Haverhill, MA — Thomas M. Francis, 66, a lifelong Haverhill resident, passed away peacefully with his family by his side at the Merrimack Valley Hospice House in Haverhill after a month long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Haverhill, he was the son of Bernard C. and Mildred R. (MacGibbon) Francis. A lifelong St. James Parishioner, he was a graduate of St. James Grammar School, and Haverhill Trade School, class of 1965. A Veteran of the Vietnam War, Tom enlisted into the U.S. Navy shortly after graduation. He received the National defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and after serving for six years he was honorably discharged in 1971.

A welder by trade, Tom began his long and varied career as a welder at General Iron in Lawrence. He then became the food service manager at the Glynn Memorial Hospital for the City of Haverhill, and from 1975 until 2000 he was employed as a corrections officer for the State of Massachusetts Department of Corrections working at Walpole State Prison and Concord State Prison retiring in 2000. Not one to stay idle, he went back to work as the bridge operator at Hampton Beach and finally ended his career at the Market Basket at West Gate Plaza.

Tom loved people and made friends quickly. He was the neighborhood watch and the guy to go to when a helping hand was needed. A devoted family man, on November 13, 1971, he married his childhood sweetheart, Jane A. (Shugrue) shortly after his discharge from the Navy. They would spend the next 42 years, virtually unseparated.

Besides his beloved wife, he leaves a loving daughter and son in law, Michelle M. and Michael Wilkins, of Haverhill, adopted daughter, Suzanne Gould, of Monroe, N.Y., two cherished grandchildren, Janelle M. and Jesse M. Wilkins, brothers, Rev. Bernard C. Francis Jr, of Hahnville, La., David K. Francis and his wife, Ramona, of Seabrook Beach, N.H., John C. Francis, of Kingston, N.H., Kevin Francis and his wife Nancy, of Bradford, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a daughter, Melissa Ann Francis, his siblings, Mildred Marion, Daniel G., Anne Marie Richardson, and Stephen H.

ARRANGEMENTS: Friends and family are respectfully invited to call on Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home, 486 Main St., Haverhill. Funeral services will be held on Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m., from the funeral with a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 10 a.m., in St. James Church, Winter St., Haverhill. Burial is private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his name to Handicapped Children’s Bowling League, C/O Haverhill Elks, Summer St., Haverhill, MA, 01830, or Merrimack Valley Hospice, 360 Merrimack St., Lawrence, MA, 01843. Please visit Comeau Funeral Home on Facebook.