A Celebration of the life of Wendell Loran Francis will be 10 a.m. Tuesday March 12, 2013 at Sequoyah Baptist Church where he was a longtime faithful member. Visitation will be Monday March 11, 2013 from 1-7 p.m. at Rice Funeral Service. Family will receive visitors from 5-7.
Wendell left his temporary earthly home for his eternal heavenly home on Friday March 8, 2013. He was 90 years old.
Born in Claremore on July 4, 1922, he was the eldest of Charles M. and Cora Mae (Hilton) Francis’ seven children.
Wendell was reared and educated in his birth community, learning not only in the classroom, but also in the school of hard work experiences, which began very early in his childhood. He worked on the family farm alongside his father and as a man became the proud owner of that same farmland. Wendell also showed that same strong work ethic in his career at Peabody Coal where he retired after 38 years of dedicated service.
On Nov. 5, 1942, Wendell enlisted in the U.S. Army — his tour of duty which spanned ten years, is the only time he left his home roots of Rogers County. He not only served throughout WWII but also during the Korean Conflict. He was a highly decorated soldier earning literally dozens of commendations, some of which include the Bronze Service Star, the Korean Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Medal and the United National Service Medal. Following his honorable discharge from military service, Wendell returned to his home in Oklahoma.
Shortly after his return from the military, Wendell and Zelma P. Rader married on June 17, 1952, in a Pryor ceremony. Wendell and Zelma became proud parents to their daughter, Peggy. The Sequoyah community of Rogers County was home for the Francis family throughout their lives together.
A man who was totally devoted to his efforts in all he did—career, military and family man—Wendell ‘s community was also enhanced by his dedication. When he was supportive of an effort it was sure to succeed. One of his most proud accomplishments was his ability to be the number one backer of the brand new Heritage Hills Golf Course. Not only did he spend countless hours of enjoyment playing the course, but he also treasured the times he was able to share with the many friends he made in that recreation. He also enjoyed bowling at the infamous Cadet Bowl, where he was a member of many leagues and taught his grandson and numerous nieces and nephews how to put the ball in the strike zone.
The joy of a life well lived and the comfort of the promises he found in God’s Word prepared Wendell for his time of passing. That same faith comforts his family members who survive. They include his wife Zelma of their home in Claremore; his daughter Peggy Clattenburg and her husband Ken of Little Rock, Arkansas; his grandson Nick Clattenburg; his three brothers, Bill Francis, Gene Francis and his wife Mary Ellen and Doran Francis and his wife Lynda, his “older” sister Joyce Jones and his sister-in-law Corine Francis and many beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Chubby and Jack Francis.