Bobby Joe Francis was born in his grandparents’ home located on Mt. Olive cutoff road outside of Arkadelphia on August 19, 1935, and died in the Baptist Medical Center in Arkadelphia on July 18, 2022.
He was the devoted and much-loved son of Leo Elsworth Francis and Flora West Francis and the grandson of Dee Elijah and Grace Wingfield West and Jodie Joseph and Lucy Freeman Francis. He was preceded in death by his parents, an older sister he never knew, both sets of grandparents and his great-grandchild Ally.
He graduated from Arkadelphia High School in 1954 and he proudly wore #51 as a running back for the Badger Football Team. Bobby Joe Francis worked for almost 40 years as a forklift operator at Tectum Corporation and Reynolds Corporation.
Running was his hobby and one that provided him great personal fulfillment as he ran the streets of his hometown. He had a yearly tradition of running his age in miles the week of his birthday. When he became too old to run, he switched to walking each day. Bobby Joe Francis was the “walking man.”
For the past 60 years, one could find him at his favorite place on earth – his home on Walnut Street.
Bobby Joe Francis loved and cherished his family more than anything else in his life – and his legacy will live on in each of them. He is survived by his wife of 33 years Ellen Loy Francis, his two children Debbie Jo Francis and Keith (liz) Francis, his two step-sons Ron (Angie) Loy and Rick (Rene) Loy, his ten grandchildren: Brittany (Nick), Brandon Joe (Olivia), Jennifer (Eric), Jay, Brittini (Jake), Hannah (Lily), Adam (Jessica), Alex (Dorene), Tiffany (Justin), Alana, and his fourteen great-grandchildren Jayden, Preslee, Braylee, Gracie, Kolten, Mason, Sailor, Reno, Zoey, Addi, Darren, Carlie, Jace and Martin Joseph.
His family will celebrate his life in a private graveside service at Golden Cemetery on July 22, 2022.
Donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in memory of Bobby Joe Francis.