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Joyce Funeral Home

245 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02453
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Memories & Candles

“Steve and Paul,I just found out about your dad. He was my first baseball coach and I will always remember his kindness to me, and all the kids who...Read More »
1 of 6 | Posted by: John Kelly - Exeter, NH

“Super nice fellow who was at Warrendale field with the kids for all of the sports. ”
2 of 6 | Posted by: David Foster - Prosper, TX

“To the Francis Family,I was so very sorry to learn of John's passing. He was such a bright light and I know my parents really enjoyed his and...Read More »
3 of 6 | Posted by: Jeanne Bruno (Cousineau) - MA

“Stephen & Family,John will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. He was always smiling! I will miss our daily fist-bumps.Lisa ”
4 of 6 | Posted by: A friend

“My Deepest Sympathy to the Family. ”
5 of 6 | Posted by: Natacha Desroses - Waltham, MA

“Dear Francis family, I am sorry for your loss. I think he lead a wonderful life and shared a lot of love with everyone he touched. ”
6 of 6 | Posted by: sandra hamilton - Melrose, MA

John Francis, Jr. of Arlington, formerly of Edgartown and Waltham, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on January 22, 2018. John was the loving husband of the late Natalie (Correia) Francis, with whom he shared 52 years of marriage.

John is survived by his eldest son, Stephen Francis of Wakefield, MA, husband of Carol, and his middle son Paul Francis of Dallas, TX. John was pre-deceased by his youngest son and daughter-in-law, John Michael Francis and Kimberly (Dufresne) Francis, of Pepperell, MA. John is also survived by his seven beloved grandchildren, Paul Francis, Allison Vuckovich, Emily Francis, John Adiletto, John Curtis Francis, Claire Francis, and Kathryn Francis.

John was born and raised on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, son of the late John Francis and Rita (DeBeech) Francis. His paternal grandparents were natives of the island of San Miguel, Azores. His maternal ancestors were French Canadian. His childhood on Martha's Vineyard shaped his life-long love of the ocean, fishing, and artwork. John was an only child who captured the attention of his parents as well as his adoring grandmother Mary "Mamie" (Vieira) Francis, and his extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. As a boy, John was known as "junior'' in honor of his namesake father. "Dempsey'' the nickname of the elder Mr. Francis, after the famous boxer, was a nickname that John fondly inherited as an adult. John graduated from Martha's Vineyard High School in 1951 and joined the United States Navy shortly thereafter. While serving in the Navy aboard the USS Ft. Ticonderoga for a four-year tour of duty, John was stationed in Brooklyn, NY, Haiti, the United Kingdom, and other locations.. After serving his country, John was honorably discharged in 1955 and returned to his home in Martha's Vineyard. Soon after his return to the Vineyard, John was employed as a bartender in Edgartown, where, as family legend goes, he served drinks to Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and other icons of the era. It was also at this time that John met his future bride, Natalie Corriea and moved to Boston to complete his degree in art at the Massachusetts College of Art.

John and Natalie became engaged in 1957 and were married on September 13, 1958 at Natalie's home church in Allston. They were blessed with the birth of their eldest son Stephen John one year after their wedding. Within a few short years they were further blessed with the birth of Paul Anthony and John Michael. John and Natalie proudly raised their three boys in Waltham while both playing very active roles in their lives. John was a long-time Little League coach and an ever-present supporter on the sidelines of multiple football and ice hockey games. Summers were filled with working and trips from Waltham to the Vineyard to enjoy summertime activities with Natalie, the boys, and extended family.

After raising a family and watching their family expand to include seven grandchildren, John and Natalie sold their home in Waltham and retired to the Vineyard. Those were glorious years filled with summers on the beach, and great times with treasured friends and cousins. John quietly enjoyed the flurry of activities organize by Natalie, including the annual Fourth of July parades and fireworks, clam bakes on the beach, Thanksgiving in Texas, Christmas in Pepperell, and the annual Francis Easter egg coloring contest. The consummate host, John always opened his home to guests and made sure they quickly had their favorite cold beverage and a comfortable seat for an enjoyable visit. In the later years on the Vineyard, John was not as active, but he took great care in tending to beautiful annual gardens and his assorted bird houses. Many afternoons were spent on his deck enjoying the beauty of his flowers, the soft sound of birds and the fresh smell of the Vineyard air.

In his later years, John miraculously survived the automobile accident that took the life of Natalie while driving home from their winter residence in Sanibel, Florida. John overcame serious injuries and was confined to a wheelchair, but maintained his true positive outlook on life and always put the needs of others above his own. John's common response when asked how he was feeling was "I feel like a million bucks". He never complained, ever. John was a beloved resident of the Bright View Assisted Living community where he enjoyed all of the staff and the activities, especially the water color classes and all of the social events. John enjoyed his weekly excursions away from Bright View, commonly at Salvatore's in Medford where he became a favorite patron. John's everlasting legacy is that of man of kindness, one who never spoke a negative word about another person, and above all, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

Family and friends will honor and remember John's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Thursday, January 25th from 4 to 8 p.m. and again at 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning before leaving in procession to Saint Jude's Church, 147 Main Street, where his Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Burial is private.

Memorials in his name may be made to The ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter, 685 Canton St - Suite 103 - Norwood, MA 02062