Thaine “T. C.” Francis, 85, died July 7 at Catholic Care, Bel Aire. Born Dec. 21, 1928, at Hudson, he was the son of Leslie and Lucille (Jones) Francis.
He married Melvina Mary Kreutzer Sept. 14, 1948 at Great Bend. She died June 10, 2013. T.C. had a long and rewarding career in the Oil and Gas Industry. Starting soon after high school he went to work in the “oilpatch” for Lane Wells, a logging and perforating company. His career took a leap forward in 1952 when the owner of Lane-Wells asked T.C. to transfer to Venezuela, S.A. and start a division on the banks of Lake Maracaibo. It was literally – “Melvina we are moving to Venezuela so sell the house and bring the kids because I have to be to work there in a few weeks.” Needless to say, working in a foreign country was an extra-ordinary experience and challenging at times for T.C., because at the age of 24 he was put in charge of the field operations, which had English and Spanish speaking employees. Of course T.C. didn’t speak Spanish in the beginning, so most of the time he just added the letter “O” to English words and pointed orders. He lived and worked in Venezuela from 1952 to 1966 when they moved the family to New Orleans, La. He worked on oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico running gas-lift valves for Teledyne-Merla Company. Once again in 1973, his career took a rewarding turn when he moved back to Great Bend and started Francis Casing Crews, Inc. He owned and operated Francis Casing Crews from 1973 to 2003, when he retired at the age of 75 and sold the business to his youngest son, John.
He was a member of Prince of Peace Parish at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association, Board Member for many years of the American Petroleum Institute-Western Kansas Chapter, Kansas Shrine Board, and avid member of the Isis Shrine Temple, Founding Member and former president of the Kansas Oil and Gas Museum Foundation, and Board Member of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. He was Chairman of the Kansas Shrine Bowl, and he was instrumental in getting several local athletes to be selected the Western Team to compete in the East/West Shrine Bowl of Kansas. T.C. was a 3i Show committee volunteer many times, Mid-America Oil and Gas Show co-founder, and Meals on Wheels volunteer.
Survivors include two sons: Dale Francis and his wife Barbara of Houston, Texas, and John Francis and his wife Nancy of Great Bend; and one daughter, Renee Hawes of Haysville; two sisters: Donna McAfee of Omaha, Neb, and Beverly Jones of Hutchinson; nine grandchildren: Joshua Francis, Nicholas Francis, Jordan Schupbach, Brandon Hawes, Ashley Hawes, Candace Hawes, Katelynn Hawes, Leslie Francis, and Morgan Francis; and seven great-grandchildren He was preceded in death by one brother, Vaughn Francis; and three sisters, Imogene Means, Ione Julian, and Lorraine Porcelli.
Vigil Service with Rosary will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 9, at Bryant Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, July 10, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Great Bend. Father Don Bedore will be celebrant. Burial will be in Great Bend Cemetery, Great Bend. Friends may call from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday, July 9, at Bryant Funeral Home. Memorials are requested to the Kansas Oil and Gas Museum Foundation or Lasting Life Ministries to benefit Almost Home, in care of Bryant Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent and notice viewed at www.bryantfh.net
Funeral arrangements by
Bryant Funeral Home**
1425 Patton Road
Great Bend, Kansas 67530
Great Bend (Kan) Tribune, July 8, 2014