Alvin Clair Francis was born in Velva, N.D., on Nov. 17, 1920, to Ralph and Maude (Robbins, Taylor) Francis. He was the second of triplets and the only one to survive birth.
Al grew up in Sawyer and attended Sawyer schools into high school, but graduated from Minot High School. Near the end of World War II, he was able to join the Merchant Marine, in spite of having been born without a left hand. He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard for his World War II service, and also received Merchant Marine service ribbons for his service during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Al enjoyed reading and travelling as he shipped to ports around the world during his lifelong career in the Merchant Marine, and initially retired in Taiwan, which was his favorite foreign country of all that he had visited. After living in Taiwan, he moved back to Minot where he lived until March 26, 2014.
He was a lifetime member of the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club, and enjoyed target shooting and attending all of the gun shows. Al loved walking and walked to the Roosevelt Park Zoo where he gave tours to school children he could even make some of the animals do tricks. He had a great memory and always remembered the titles and actors of all the old movies he enjoyed watching.
He loved his family and friends. His sisters were Lucille, Willidean, Leona and Pearl.
Al sincerely appreciated all that everyone did for him, and we thank you Kathy Hedstrand for helping him so much for so long and the Francis family.
All family members and friends of Al are welcome to the memorial service at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 4, at Thomas Family Funeral Home in Minot, followed by burial in the veterans section of Rosehill Memorial Park in Minot.