Ellen Francois

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Ellen Francois, 105, Oconto Falls, died peacefully early Tuesday morning, May 16, 2017, at Atrium Post Acute Care of Oconto Falls. The third child of eight children was born Dec. 13, 1911, in Wausaukee to Archie and Anne (Hubard) Gillis. For perspective, the infamous sinking of the Titanic would happen four months after Ellen’s birth.

The Gillis family lived in Wausaukee and Wabeno before moving to Oconto Falls when Ellen was 3 years old. She attended Oconto Falls Public Schools and graduated high school with the class of 1930. Following graduation, she was employed by Metzler Lumber Co. and also worked as a waitress in downtown Oconto Falls. While working at the restaurant, a young man would come in to visit Ellen and buy cigarettes, even though he didn’t smoke. On Nov. 25, 1930, Ellen married “that man,” August Francois.

Following their marriage, the couple moved to the family farm which they owned and operated for 43 years in rural Oconto Falls and where they would raise their seven children and Ellen would sew most of her children’s clothing. Ellen and August also enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping and traveling together for most of their years together until August died in 1992. She was a longtime member of St. Anthony Catholic Parish in Oconto Falls and the PCCW. Ellen was well known for her love of playing a good game of competitive cards and wasn’t too shy to tell you when you messed up or might have cost her some winnings. Well into her 90s, she stayed active in the Senior Citizens Card Club and enjoyed volunteering at the local nursing home. Between playing cards, attending exercise class or traveling with her many friends to social gatherings, it was hard to find Ellen at her home in the city which she meticulously maintained until 2011. At that time she moved in with her son and daughter-in-law Ron and Carol Francois, where Ellen was well cared for and felt at home. Ellen remained an avid reader right up until the end of her life.

Survivors include five children, Melvin (Dorothy) Francois, Dunbar; Janet (Donald) Beardsley, Menominee, Michigan; Ronald “Bozo” (Carol) Francois, Oconto Falls; Susie (Clarence) Jarmuskiewicz, Green Bay; Rodger Francois, Gillett; one son-in-law, Lucien Burleaud, Texas; one daughter-in-law, Sue Francois, Waukesha; 20 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren and many great-great grandchildren.

Besides her parents, four brothers, three sisters and husband, Ellen was also preceded in death by her first child, Marilyn Burleaud, and fifth child, Jim Francois.

Visitation will be held after 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20, 2017, at St. Anthony Catholic Church until the time of service. Mass of Christian Burial will be held 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the church with the Rev. Joel Sember officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls is serving the Francois family.

Ellen will be lovingly remembered for her great attitude about life, her good sense of humor and ability to make others feel good about themselves and others.