Haverhill, MA — Thomas M. Francis, 66, a life-long 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 life-long 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 in 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, and 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; a sister, Marjorie J. Woodburn of Hampstead, N.H.; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a daughter, Melissa Ann Francis, and his siblings, Mildred Marion, Daniel G., Anne Marie Richardson, Stephen H., Peter, Joseph, and Richard.
ARRANGEMENTS: Funeral services will be held today beginning at 9 a.m., from the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home with a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 10 a.m. in St. James Church, Winter Street, 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 Street, Haverhill, MA 01830, or Merrimack Valley Hospice, 360 Merrimack St., Lawrence, MA 01843. Please visit Comeau Funeral Home on Facebook.