Geraldine Francis

Geraldine P. Francis

December 31, 1921 - May 28, 2014

The smile that could light up a room is now shining down from above.

Geraldine (Geri) Francis was born on New Year's Eve 1921 in San Diego, Texas. She was raised in Laredo, where she graduated from Martin High School in 1939.

She graduated from Our Lady of the Lake College with a degree in dietetics. During World War II, Geri enlisted in the U.S. Army and was a member of the first class of clinical dietitians to serve at Brook Army Hospital from 1944 to 1946. Honorably discharged, Geri sought her future with a move to New Orleans in 1947, where she lived in a French Quarter apartment.

While working at Texaco Oil Company, she met a handsome geological engineer, Byron (Barney) Francis, in the company cafeteria. He had stood and bowed when Geri entered the room, obviously taken by her bright smile. After a whirlwind courtship, Geri and Barney were married on October 4, 1948, at Christ Episcopal Church in Laredo.

Geri retired from Texaco and devoted herself to being a fulltime homemaker, hostess, community volunteer, and mother. The family grew with the births of Cecilia (CeCe), John, and Mary. Barney's promotions and transfers with Texaco took the family from New Orleans to Houston in 1957, then to New York/Connecticut and to Midland in 1961.

When Barney died in 1963, Geri assumed the role of breadwinner for the young family. Realizing there were greater opportunities in San Antonio, she decided to move the family one last time.

Geri returned to college, earning a teaching credential. She taught fourth grade in the Northside Independent School District for nine years. When Mary graduated from high school, Geri returned to her first passion of hospital dietetics and worked as a clinical dietitian at the VA Medical Center until retiring in 1984.

Geri designed and built a family home in Dreamland Oaks, which became the hub of social activities for her children and their friends. From ice cream parties for visiting grandchildren to church youth groups and even a wedding reception, Geri enjoyed being hostess. "The Dip" was always on the table!

Through hard work, she was able to pay off the mortgage early and lived there happily until two devastating floods forced her to leave. In 1996, Geri made the wise decision to move to Independence Hill in Stone Oak, where she lived independently until her death.

Fluent in Spanish and blessed with an astounding memory, Geri was beloved for her sharp insights and great storytelling. Each year, she celebrated her New Year's Eve birthday with the world and especially remembered one party in the Blue Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans when Vaughn Monroe invited her join him on stage as he sang, "Racing With the Moon." Her family and friends gathered two years ago to celebrate her 90th birthday with a toast to this amazing, strong and loving woman.

Geri was lifetime member of the American Dietetic Association. She was a Girl Scout leader, classroom aid, and avid bridge player. She was a Sunday School teacher, member of the Vestry, and Director of the Altar Guild at St. George Episcopal Church.

Geri is survived by her daughter CeCe (Jack), son John (Mary), son-in-law Joe Vigil; six grandchildren: Laura, Matt, Katy, Rachel, Joe, and Michelle; and six great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her youngest daughter, Mary.

In lieu of flowers, Geri requests donations be made to the . A celebration of her life will be held Sunday, June 8 at 2 p.m., at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1416 N. Loop 1604 East.

Funeral Home

Mission Park Funeral Chapel - North
3401 Cherryridge San Antonio, TX 78230
(210) 349-1414

Published in Express-News on June 6, 2014