116 South Street P.O. Box 165 Chardon, OH 44024

The Burr Family… Treasuring Memories for Five Generations

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Richard Evan Francies

June 20, 1917 - October 13, 2011

Mr. Francies worked his way up from an Installer to and Engineer/Manager for the former Ohio Bell Telephone Company in Cleveland, OH, from 1946 until his retirement in 1981. He devoted 35 years of his career to the Phone Company. He was a proud veteran of the US Army, Signal Corps and a Prisoner of War for…read more

Mr. Francies worked his way up from an Installer to and Engineer/Manager for the former Ohio Bell Telephone Company in Cleveland, OH, from 1946 until his retirement in 1981. He devoted 35 years of his career to the Phone Company. He was a proud veteran of the US Army, Signal Corps and a Prisoner of War for the 3 1/2 years of World War II. In 1937, he enlisted in the Army Signal Corps at 18, asking to be stationed in the Philippines to get as far away as he could from a first Sgt. he hated at Fort Monmouth, NJ. He spent 2 years as a Tech. Sgt. in the Philippines, building radio stations and maintaining the equipment. He was just 3 days away from going home to the United States when the Pearl Harbor attack took place on December 7, 1941. He was a survivor of the “Bataan Death March”, Japanese “Hell Ship” and slave labor camps. He was part of the “Battling Bastards of Bataan” – American and Filipino servicemen who fought in a doomed holding action at the start of America’s war in the Pacific. Many times, as other prisoners escaped, he was threatened with the firing squad. He and his men were doing radio work for the Japanese, therefore, their lives spared. They also sabotaged many of those radios, helping with the effort in the Philippines. Mr. Francies was a 1936 graduate of East High School in Euclid. He was active in the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland Heights, was a Ham Radio Operator and was very active in POW reunions. He has returned 6 times to the Philippines to join his friends and fellow POW’s. He enjoyed the people of the Philippines, as they risked their lives to help the prisoners survive. The flag flying in front of the Cleveland Heights City Hall now flies twenty-four hours per day in his honor. He is survived by his daughters Susan (John) Heaton of N. Barrington, IL and Katharine (Kent) Kleiva of Palatine, IL, grandchildren Richard Evan, his namesake, Laura, Kristen and Kate. He also leaves his loving companion Margaret “Peg” Skelly of Willoughby, OH. His parents William Evan and Edna Marie (nee: Richards) Francies and sister Eleanor Smith are deceased. Private family burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC at a later date.

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Service Information

Service Information

University Circle United Methodist Church

Address:

1919 E. 107th Street
Cleveland, OH 44106
 

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