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Julia Francis, age 81, of Herbert, SK left us on Friday, May 26, 2023 with her family by her side at the Herbert Integrated Long Term Care Facility.
Julia Aganetha Francis was born on February 13, 1942 to Abe & Agatha Doerksen, the fifth of six children, in Herbert. Julia married Gary Francis in Herbert on October 3, 1964 and they lived on the farm ten miles north of Herbert from then on. Julia taught locally, having obtained her teaching certificate from the Regina Teacher's College, and later upgraded her Education Degree from the U of S on a year-long adventure to Saskatoon, SK with her two young children, Lane and Raegan, in tow.
When they were first married, Gary & Julia spent time on the local rodeo circuit where they made many lifelong friends. Julia was a barrel racer, pole bender, and heeler — for a small package, she was as tough as they come. She would fearlessly try anything from waterskiing, sailing, skeet shooting, to skiing on the icy slopes. Alongside Uncle Doug Francis, Julia coached Raegan's minor girls’ softball team, which included many cousins and nieces. They made lots of happy memories on and off the diamonds around the province.
Julia kept the books for as many as five of Gary's farm equipment and fertilizer businesses concurrently — she was a whiz. Years later she could easily recall the names of all their customers, suppliers, and truckers as well as their spouses, family members, and locations. When her sister, Vera (Jack), moved back to Herbert, Julia and family spent many hours visiting during and outside of haircutting hours — this was their second home and those times with family are remembered by all with great fondness.
Julia kept a big garden and a very nice yard where she maintained beautiful trees, plants, and flowers. She loved her grandkids and selflessly travelled, sometimes long-distance, for maternities and visits. She always kept everyone well-fed with treats whenever they came over. She skillfully sheltered her grandkids from any scoldings as they made their way from their many and frequent shenanigans. Except for that time Grandpa caught them in the middle of the slough with the side by side (and maybe a few other times).
In their retirement years, Julia & Gary travelled with Gary's brother and sister-in-law, Barry & Yvonne Brown, and cousins, Donna & Lorne McInnis, on junkets south. But mostly, they enjoyed entertaining in the big house Gary built for her in 2009 (as promised), with welcome visits from old friends, beloved colleagues, and BC and Alberta relatives. The Southland Colony were frequent guests from across Lundeen Lake and they doted on Julia and treated her as one of their own.
After the loss of Gary in 2019, Julia moved to the Herbert Integrated Long Term Care Facility where she was well and lovingly cared for by the workers, doctors, and nurses who thankfully were mostly friends and acquaintances she had made through the years. She had a good chuckle with every visitor who came by and her sense of humour was never dulled right until the end — she was always ready with a smile.
Her loss leaves a hole in the lives of those she touched, and we know that the kindness and love she showed to those on earth will lead to her reward in heaven. Julia is survived by her daughter, Raegan (Ward) Minifee (Herbert, SK) and her children, Storm Dafoe, Sheyenne Funk, and Tristin Funk; her son, G. Lane (Nicole) Francis (Swift Current, SK) and their children, Sierra (Michael) Andree, Shay, Seth, Sage, Stowe, and Sayer Francis; her sister, Evelyn; her brother, Raymond "Butch"; and by many nieces, nephews, and extended family.
Julia was predeceased by her husband, Gary Francis; her sisters, Lorraine and Alvira; and by her brother, Gerald.
The Funeral Service for Julia Francis was held on Friday, June 9, 2023 at 2:00 pm from St. Paul Lutheran Church, Herbert, SK with Rev. Greg Kiel officiating. Music was provided by Sage Francis and Sierra Francis. Julia’s life story was shared by Storm Dafoe. Readings were given by Stowe Francis and Shay Francis.
The Interment Service was held following the Funeral Service from Highland Cemetery, Herbert District, SK.
In lieu of flowers and in memory of Julia Francis, donations made to St. Paul Lutheran Church (Box 413, Herbert, SK, S0H 2A0) would be appreciated by the family.