Violet Francis – The Passing of our Founder
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on July 10, 2012
Violet “Terry” Francis 1926 – 2012 Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Violet “Terry” Francis, formerly of Spadina Parkway, Pittsfield, died at her home in Estero, Florida, on Friday, July 6, 2012. Terry was born in Brooklyn, New York on Dec. 14, 1926, to Vallin Nils and Inger Larson Ramsvik . She graduated from Bay Ridge High School and began her career as an airline stewardess for Eastern Airlines.
There she met and fell in love with a pilot, Burton S. Francis, Jr.
They married and returned to Burt’s hometown of Pittsfield to start their lives together. Terry was nothing short of a firecracker and went after everything in life with gusto. She’s the person everyone would most like to have lunch with; entertaining, eccentric, witty and interesting. A true Type A personality, Terry worked for many years as a bridal consultant and later as sales manager for both former Holiday Inn in Lenox and the Colonial Hilton in Pittsfield.
She and Burt retired to Florida in 1985, where she became very involved with the Sons of Norway and was instrumental in the charter of their new Scandia Lodge in Naples, Florida. Always fiercely proud of her Norwegian heritage, Terry gave the lodge her all and had a ship christened the “Terry Viking” in her honor. At the age of 83 she decided that another lodge further north in the Ft. Myers region was needed. She recruited and chartered a new lodge, The Gulf Coast Vikings, in 2010.
Terry’s true Viking spirit will be missed by all, but especially by her children: Deborah C. Francis and her husband Calvin Hirsch of Davis, CA, Karen F. Tohen of Estero, FL, and Burton S. Francis 3rd and his wife Roberta of Hinsdale, MA. Terry lost her beloved husband Burt in 1992, and a son Kaare C. Francis in 2007. She is also survived by a sister Beatrice Anderson of Holiday, FL. and 9 grandchildren: Dona Francis and Emily Hirsch, Audrey Francis Kendig , Spencer and Eric Francis, Kaare Francis, Joshua, Zachary, and Jared Tohen. In addition she leaves three great-grandchildren and four nieces.
Memorial Notice: A celebration of Terry’s life will be 5:30 p.m. Wednesday July 11, 2012, at the Wellington Funeral Home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, Terry had requested that donations in her memory be made to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Center in Tampa, Florida.