Francis -- Travels

[During the last years of his life, Francis worked with Dick to fill in the gaps of his biography. Dick's comments and additions are in brackets such as this.]

Travels with Eileen

Eileen and Francis started their serious travels with an Eastern airlines (later Continental) get-up-and-go-passes.  For an annual fee of $999 each, they could travel once a week except for certain blackout periods.  This allowed them to frequently visit their 6 out-of-state children:
Trips typically centered around the family Diaspora.  They visited Paul and Cindy’s family in Roslyn, WA.; Mark in LA (both North Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley); Dick and Pietrina’s family in Houston; Mary and Jim in Dallas; Alice and Martha in the Phoenix area before either were married.  Generally if the family had more little children, they were visited more often as Eileen liked her little grandchildren.

Every year Francis and Eileen would renew their passes, usually with a $100 increase.  Eventually Continental took over the bankrupt Eastern and eventually ended the pass for senior citizens. 

Grand Coulee Dam
While Eileen and Francis traveled often with their airline passes and scattered family starting around 1980, they had vacationed (usually with some of their smaller kids) throughout Francis's working career.  Per Tom: June, 1952. Dad left a good-sized box of Kodachrome slides of a Kiwanis trip to Seattle by way of Yellowstone, Banff, and Victoria.  They also did the Grand Coulee Dam (shown here) and Vancouver, taking trains on the way out and flying back from Seatac. 

Other trips included Norfolk, VA, where Don and Leonilla Hones (Eileen’s Nazareth classmate) were house-sitting a former ambassador’s mansion filled with museum-quality memorabilia.   Philip was visited during his cardiology rotation in Biddeford, Maine, near Portland.  There they visited Bowdoin and Bath.  Francis was impressed by the huge trees on the Bowdoin campus where Longfellow took his undergraduate years.

In 1990 they visited the Maynards in Gulf Shores, Alabama, near Pensacola, Florida.  From there they traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to visit the Balfor family.  (Kay Balfor was the sister of Leonilla Hones).  The Balfors also had 12 children, all of whom attended Louisiana State University and were employed as lawyers or chemical engineers at the many energy companies that spread themselves up and down the Mississippi.  One of the Balfor’s children rented a hotel room on the Mardi Gras parade route every year.  He invited Francis and Eileen to see the parade.

Once they flew to Albuquerque and then drove to El Paso to visit Barbara LaBranche Martin, a niece of Eileen.

Their retirement went smoothly

Japan 93
Frances has written little here of his travels, but as a habitual photographer, he has left behind many pictures of trips here unmentioned.  Above is a 93 trip to Japan -- and many of the people he visited came to see him in Garden City.  In general, if you told him, "Come vist me sometime,"  he would.  See Tom's albums for some of these photos.


After Eileen’s death, Francis continued to travel, visiting in the San Diego area with Mark and James Schmitt (son of Francis’s youngest brother Don); Dr. George Rosenberg (a WWII friend) in Abbeyville, South Carolina; a visit to Dick and Pietrina (with Auntie Ev) to Paris for 2 weeks in May of 2000 (including side trips to Normandy and Lisieux); and Portugal/Spain/Southern France in September of 2002 – a trip to many Catholic shrines such as Fatima, Avila, Santiago De Compostela, and Lourdes; and a whirlwind tour to help Dick introduce Jane to the upper Midwest relatives in three days/1600 miles (the Bridenstines in Kalamazoo, Joe in Chicago, Martha in St. Cloud) returning through the upper Peninsula and stopping at Michael and Debby’s and then finally arriving to dinner at Phil and Cheryl’s.)

[Francis was a detailed keeper of records and his contributions to the family newsletters were often such lists. Eileen insisted that they never stay with people long enough to wear out one's welcome.  Francis didn't believe in that and would come for weeks -- but was such a gentle and low maintenance visitor that hosts wouldn't mind the stay and relish the company.]

[Missing here is the story that demonstrates both Francis's sense of adventure as well as his tenacity in photographing his life.  While on a trip to the Holy Land, he fell into the Dead Sea.  We'll resurrect his family letter and add that section to this story some day.]

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