Deceased August 5, 2022
Fran came to Amherst in fall 1951, well known in central Massachusetts with a stack of newspaper articles about his athletic feats. He was an outstanding athlete in football, basketball and baseball. The Hartford Courant chose Fran as New England Pitcher of the Year in 1950. He had graduated that year from Buckley High School and then spent a year at Suffield Academy. Fran had turned down the opportunity to play pro baseball with the Chicago Cubs.
As an undergraduate, Fran’s major athletic accomplishment was as a pitcher on the Jeff baseball team. He was a member of Chi Phi fraternity and majored in English literature. Fran had fond memories of his Chi Phi brothers. He enjoyed rooming with Tommy Knight ’54 and especially Lee Hildreth ’55. Frank Downey ’55 said that, when Lee died in November 2016, Fran sent a note to Lee which was read aloud at the funeral mass saying, “Save me a seat.” They were the best of friends. During his college years, he met a student nurse in Hartford named Maureen. They were married in October 1956 and had three children.
Upon graduation, Fran began his lifelong career in the insurance industry, beginning with Hartford Insurance. In May 1967, he received a promotion and relocated to Oklahoma City. He spent the remainder of his life as an “Okie.” There he was an active junior football and baseball coach. Fran said that, although he was not born in Oklahoma, he was “Sooner bred, and when he died, he said he wanted to be Sooner dead.”
His children said Fran had an acerbic wit and sense of humor. His joke telling was legendary.
Fran never had a sour mood; he always looked on the bright side of life. Fran died on Aug. 5, 2022.
Rob Sowersby ’55