GASTONIA - Herbert C. "Skeets" Francum, 92, formerly of 1815 Armstrong Park Road, passed away May 16, 2014, at Willow Ridge in Rutherfordton, N.C. He was a native of Gaston County, son of the late F.M. Francum, Sr. and Etta Beach Francum.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Loelle J. Francum; son John C. "Chris" Francum; and his brothers, Norva M., F.M., Jr., and John R. Francum; sister, Catherine Roberts.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church and a 50 year Mason in Holland Memorial Lodge 668.
Skeets served as a U.S. Navy
submariner in WWII
, where he saw much intense action aboard the USS Flasher, one of the most highly decorated submarines of the war. It received the Presidential Unit Cita-tion and six battle stars, and was credited with sinking more tonnage of Japanese shipping than any oth-er submarine. He was a founding member of the Gaston World War II Last Man Club.
He was also a true professional car salesman. After the war, there was a demand for automobiles in Gastonia, so he got his start in the business by traveling the country bringing back cars to town for resale. This led to a life-long career which included the position of sales manager at Lytle Buick-Pontiac and later, Powell Olds and Cadillac. He met many people over the years and most would say they remember him for his honesty and sense of humor that kept everyone laughing.
He is survived by sons and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Zerina Francum of Gastonia; Charles M. Francum of Durham; Daughter, Amy F. Welch of Gastonia; grandchildren - Dana Lusk (Jonathan), Eric (Lindsay) Francum; Evan Welch; Great-grandchildren - John, Andrew, and Mary Coles Lusk and Miles Francum.
The family will receive friends from 1-2 p.m. Monday at Ward Funeral Service, 220 South Broad St.
Burial will be private for the family on Tuesday.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of Gaston County, P.O. Box 3984, Gastonia, NC 28054.
Ward Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements.