Richard (Dick) Nulton Francis, 86, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend passed away peacefully at Vi at Silverstone Care Center in Scottsdale, Arizona surrounded by his family.
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Dick leaves his wife of 62 years, Ann Catto Francis; sons Richard (Becky) and John (Julia); daughters Elizabeth (Jeff) Hansen and Sarah Stuckey; grandchildren Sarah Finazzo, Richard Francis, Margaret Stearns, Elizabeth and Andrew Stuckey, Jack and Hayden Francis, Spencer, Cebron and Chelsea Hansen; two great-grandchildren, Charlie and Colby Finazzo; and his sister Dorothy Ross. He was predeceased by his beloved son, Charles Dean Francis.
Born on July 17, 1928 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Dean and Virginia (Nulton) Francis, he grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Dick graduated from University School in Shaker Heights, Ohio and, after graduation, left for Bozeman, Montana to work on his family's ranch, the Climbing Arrow. After a few years he left to attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, graduating with a degree in Business Administration. On July 26, 1952 Dick married Ann Catto, the girl to whom he gave an engraved bracelet and told her he was going to marry her on their second date. He then entered the United States Air Force where he served as a First Lieutenant at Rushmore Air Force Station in Rapid City, South Dakota as a Military Policeman in charge of guarding the nuclear weapons on the base.
After discharge from the Air Force Dick and Ann moved back to Bozeman, Montana where Dick managed the Climbing Arrow. Besides ranching, he built a sawmill on the ranch, The Three D Lumber Company, and also owned and managed five photo-finishing companies. Also while in Bozeman, Dick was one of the founding members of The Museum of the Rockies, served as a board member for Bozeman Deaconess Hospital and was instrumental in the development of Bridger Bowl. In 1973, after selling his enterprises in Montana, he moved to Scottsdale, Arizona where he resided until his death. In Arizona he was the treasurer of a small electronics technology company, Tri Sigma Corporation. Upon selling Tri Sigma Corporation to Eagle-Picher Corporation in 1989, Dick retired.
After retirement Dick enjoyed his family and his pet dogs, and volunteering for the Scottsdale Boys and Girls Club, as well as VICAP where he drove the elderly to their doctor's appointments. Besides being an avid collector of knives, watches, pens, and cameras, he pursued photography as one of his main and favorite hobbies all of his life, and he was awarded numerous ribbons for his photographs in various photography contests around the country.
All his life, Dick was a devout Episcopalian, worshiping at St. James Episcopal Church in Bozeman and then at St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church, where he ushered and served numerous terms on the vestry, and as the church's Senior Warden.
Dick was a truly special man. He was kind, gentle, and generous to a fault. His family meant everything to him, and he was always there for them, providing support and advice without condition. He was a man of flawless integrity, respected by all who knew him.
A service celebrating his life will be held on Thursday, January 22 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church, Saint Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix, Arizona, or the
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 20, 2015