The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 22, 2024

James Ashford Francis

James Ashford Francis, 82, of Van Wert, passed away at 4:08 p.m. Wednesday, August 2, 2023, at Vancrest of Van Wert. He was born July 11, 1941, in Decatur, Indiana, to Bernard Wayne and Goldie (Baumgartner) Francis, who both preceded him in death.

James Ashford Francis

Jim is survived by a son, Andy (Monica) Francis; five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and many “bonus” grandchildren; a sister, Nancy (Jeff Kantner) Roop; a niece, Kathy (Jeff) Stachler; two nephews, Jason (Jessica) Francis and Bruce Francis; three great-nieces, two great-nephews, two great-great-nieces and two great-great-nephews.

He was also preceded in death by a brother, Larry Francis.

Jim retired from the Ohio Department of Transportation after many years of service, and had also previously worked for Sherburn Excavating for several years.

He was a United States Army veteran serving two tours during the Vietnam War.

Jim was a member of American Legion Post 178, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5803, and Moose Lodge 1320, all in Van Wert.

He cheered on the Michigan Wolverines while his brother, Larry, cheered on The Ohio State Buckeyes, which was quite the battle.

Jim was the best Orchard Tree greeter and he will greet all of you when you join him in heaven. A good soul left us, but he is at peace now. He was loved by many and will be missed by all.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 12, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, with John Rager officiating. Burial will follow in Ridge Cemetery in rural Van Wert County. Visitation will be from 2-6 p.m. Friday, August 11, at the funeral home.

To share in Jim’s online memorial, visit

POSTED: 08/04/23 at 8:29 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries