Thomas M. Francis
was born on August 25, 1934 in Columbus, Ohio to Homer and Erdine (McClure) Francis, and passed away on Monday, March 10, 2014. Tom is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Jean (Corcoran) Francis; 2 daughters, Lynda (Freddy) Quintana of Houston, TX, and Diane (Tom) Souder of Columbus, Ohio; and 4 grandchildren, Nicole Quintana, Matthew Quintana, Justin Souder, and Abby Souder.
A 1952 graduate of Columbus North High School, Tom grew up in the shadows of The Ohio State University. This led him to the campus after high school, and he graduated in December 1956 with a degree in Radio Speech. It was during a radio class at OSU where he met his wife, Jean, and the two were married on June 30, 1957. After college Tom served his country in the Army and the newlyweds spent their first year of marriage in Poitiers, France where Tom began his career in journalism by interviewing servicemen throughout France.
After completing his tour of duty, Tom accepted a job with WIMA radio in February 1959, and he and Jean settled in Lima, Ohio. He was an on-air personality at the station, beginning with the night shift and eventually landing a spot hosting the morning program. He became the voice of Lima- "Big T"-and a whole generation looked forward to hearing him announce school delays and closings. His passion for Lima grew as evidenced by the numerous local civic organizations with which he became involved.
As a member of the Lima Noon Optimist Club he served as president and was recognized as Optimist of the Year in 1990. While a member of the Lima Jaycees he was given the Distinguished Service Award in 1971. He faithfully served on many boards and committees of Lima Trinity United Methodist Church. 33 years of service on the Board of Directors to the Lima YMCA, including time as President, saw Tom being inducted into the Lima Family YMCA Heritage Club's Triangle of Honor in 2007.
He lived out his love of baseball when he became a co-founder of the Lima Locos baseball team in 1988, which he owned until 2004. Other community awards include the Lima Visionary Citizen of the Year in 2006, Honorary Lifetime Member of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce in 2009, and the St. Rita's Mercy Club Award also in 2009.
He was the voice of Lima on the radio and off as he emceed both the Allen County Junior Miss Pageant and the Barbershop Show for 25 years, along with numerous other community events.
Ever a proud Buckeye, Tom was a member of The Ohio State University Alumni Association and the Advocates Board. He received the Alumni Citizenship Award in 2004, and The Ohio State University at Lima presented him the Violet Meeks Town and Gown Award also in 2004.
Tom loved his family, The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Cincinnati Reds, and the City of Lima.
The family will receive friends from 2:00 to 8:00pm on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Chamberlain-Huckeriede Funeral Home, and also from 10:00-11:00am on Saturday, March 15. A Funeral Service will follow at 11:00am on Saturday the 15 at Chamberlain-Huckeriede Funeral Home, with Rev. David Harris officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Tom and Jean Francis Family Scholarship Fund at The Ohio State University Lima Campus, Phi Beta Psi Sorority benefiting cancer research or the
Condolences may be expressed at www.chamberlainhuckeriede.com.