Francis Essic

  • "He was my mentor at First Baptist for many years"
    - kader ramsey
  • "The Civitan world will greatly miss one of our stalwarts. ..."
    - Mike Brown
  • "A wonderful man & Civitan to the core. Condolences from the..."
    - Gary Arnold
  • "Martha, So sorry to hear about your dad. God's peace be..."
  • "It can be so hard to face the first year without your loved..."
    - Tommy and Deloris Thompson

GASTONIA - John Francis Essic, 93, went peacefully to be with his Heavenly Father early Thursday morning, December 6, 2018. He was born May 29, 1925 in Davie County to the late John Frank and Mary Lois McMath Essic.

Francis graduated from Farmington High School in May 1942. He attended Appalachian State Teachers College where he played basketball and baseball from 1942-43. He returned to ASTC in the Spring of 1945 after serving in the US Army Air Force during World War II. Francis graduated in November 1948, earning his Bachelor of Science degrees in Physical Education and Social Studies. He then earned his Master of Arts in 1950 from ASTC in School

Administration and History.

Francis married Mary Lou Freeman on July 4, 1947 at home plate in Mt. Airy, NC where he was playing professional baseball and continued playing there through 1950. In 1949 he became the youngest manager in Mt. Airy professional baseball. He then began coaching in high schools and colleges from 1950 – 1969. From 1969 – 1971, he was Charlotte Business Manager for the Carolina Cougars. From 1971 until his retirement, Francis was the Owner and Operator of Essic Sport Shop. Francis was active in the Civitan Club, serving in many offices including President of Civitan International in 1967-68, and in First Baptist Church of Gastonia, where he served in many capacities and was known to occupy a back row seat! There are many honors that he was awarded, but just a few are in 1967 he was chosen the Tar Heel of the week, he is in the Sports Hall of Fame for Pfeiffer College, Davidson County, Mt. Airy, Surry County, and Gaston County. In 1988 was President of Gaston Country Club.

In addition to his wife, Mary Lou, of 71 years, Mr. Essic is survived by his daughter,

Martha and husband David Williard; granddaughter, Traci and husband Scott Harbin; great-grandchildren, Anna-Taylor and Jackson Harbin, all of Gastonia.

A service of committal will be held at 11:00am, Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Gaston

Memorial Park. A service to Celebrate the Life of Mr. Essic will be held 1:00pm, Saturday,

December 8, 2018 at First Baptist Church, Gastonia, with Rev. Steven T. Fuller officiating. The

family will receive friends following the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 2650 Union Rd., Gastonia, NC 28054, Gaston Hospice, PO Box 3984, Gastonia, NC 28054, or Civitan International Research Center, 1719 6th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233.

Condolence messages and remembrances may be shared with the family at

McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the family of Mr. Essic.

Funeral Home
McLean Funeral Directors
700 South New Hope Road
Gastonia, NC 28054
(704) 865-3451
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Published in Gaston Gazette on Dec. 7, 2018
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