John Jacob France III
John Jacob France III was born to John J France II and Lucelle Chew France on December 24, 1940 in Brighton, Colorado. John died March 9, 2021 from cancer in Las Cruces NM. John first moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1944. He grew up with his 4 sisters Betty Boyle, Mary Tucker, Bilye Jo Nordwall, and Carolynn Cooper, all of Las Cruces. Graduating from Las Cruces High School in 1958, he attended NMSU and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Science in Education, teaching High School Chemistry and Math. He then earned a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from NMSU. College brought more than just an education to John; he met his lifelong best friend Les Coffman and they married beautiful sisters Carol and Barbara Medinger.
John joined the army in 1965 as a Second Lieutenant and served with the Ordinance Crew as a mechanical maintenance officer. He was extremely proud to serve his country where he trained and commanded 3 army battalions before their deployment to Vietnam. Captain France retired from active duty but remained in the Army Reserves for 10 years. He and Carol had 2 daughters, Sonya France of Columbia, Missouri and Cindie Hill of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
After serving in the US Army, John went on to become a nationally recognized Chemical Engineering consultant and expert in distillation towers. He was a national speaker and published several articles in the Chemical Engineering magazine.
At an early age, John found a passion for running. In high school he set the state record for the 880. Running track for NMSU, John lettered and received outstanding track awards in the 880 and 440. Later in life, John rekindled his passion of competitive running and took up the sport of Triathlon. He ran Sprint and Olympic Triathlons throughout the United States, and he also represented the United States at the International Triathlon Union World Championships held at Edmonton, Canada and Chicago, Illinois.
John met the of love of his life, Deana Kessin, walking his dogs in the desert near NMSU in 2010 while visiting family. John quickly sold his house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Las Cruces where he and Deana and their three dogs enjoyed a full and eventful eleven years. Every day John told Deanna how much he loved her, how beautiful she is and he cherished the many activities they did together. He was truly happy when he was with Deana.
John had an incredible bigger than life personality. Silly antics, always joking, humor to give to anyone, even strangers, making them laugh out loud. He had a knack for figuring out any problem and a work ethic that was built on high standards and always finishing a task that was started.
He was proceeded in death by his wife Carol Medinger France, his parents John and Lucelle, his sister Carolynn, and his best friend Les Coffman.
He is survived by his life partner Deana Kessin, daughters Sonya and Cindie (Paul), 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
A viewing will be held on Monday, March 15, 2021 at 1:00pm at La Paz, Grahams in Las Cruces NM. Covid-19 protocols will be observed.
A celebration of life is planned for Saturday April 10. Details will be announced later.
In lieu of flowers, John would like to have contributions made to the NMSU Army ROTC, Mesilla Valley Hospice, or the RoadRunner Food bank.
Published in Las Cruces Sun News from Mar. 10 to Mar. 14, 2021.