LaVona Jean (Bergstrom) Francis, age 85, was welcomed into her eternal home after a courageous battle with cancer. She passed away on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at her home in Manhattan, KS where she was surrounded by family.
She was born on May 15, 1937 to the parents of Walter and Elsie (Reed) Bergstrom. LaVona grew up on her family’s farm north of May Day, KS.
After graduating from Green High School, she joined the Women’s Army Corps and was stationed at Presidio of San Francisco, CA.
On December 24, 1955 at Parks Air Force Base in Oakland, CA, she married Norman Dean Francis. LaVona and Norman moved to Spokane, WA where Norman was stationed until he was honorably discharged from the Air Force. They then returned to Kansas where they shared 61 loving years together before he preceded her in death on August 29, 2017.
LaVona influenced many lives through various jobs and activities. Her employment endeavors included KP&L, owning and operating Tuttle Creek Restaurant of Randolph, SRS, Kansas State University, and the KSU Foundation.
LaVona was actively involved in her community and volunteered much of her time helping and serving others. She was especially passionate about serving on the Board of Directors for the Leonardville Nursing Home. As a loyal member of the Randolph United Methodist Church, LaVona served as the Church Treasurer for many years, was active in the ladies’ UMW group, and participated in several other church activities. LaVona was also a longtime member of the VFW 1786 Auxiliary. In addition, she volunteered at the Riley County Senior Center and was involved with the Randolph Senior Center.
LaVona will be remembered as a loving and devoted wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother (Gigi), and friend. She was a true matriarch who had a devout love for God, her husband, and her family. She walked in faith and service in everything that she did.
She is survived by five children, 13 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. Her surviving children are Cindy Friedrich (Curt), Russ Francis (Michelle), Terry Francis (Heidi), Tracy Smith, and Norm Francis, Jr. (Lashelle). Her surviving grandchildren and great-grandchildren include Candace (Friedrich) Stimmel (Jon and children Shane and Remi Jean), Whitney Francis, Clint Friedrich (Jillian and children Miles and Mia), Chelsea (Friedrich) Albrecht (Zach and daughters Harper and Lexi), Kylee (Francis) Rohleder (Sam and daughter Kamree), Lindsay Francis, Callie (Friedrich) Lehman (Brent and sons Liam and Baker Dean), Tyler Francis (Maggie), Norm Francis III, Derek Francis, Ciera Smith, Garrett Francis, and Zach Francis.
LaVona is also survived by one brother, Erle Bergstrom (Phyllis), one brother-in-law, Gary Francis (Audrey), and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and one sister Rosie (Bergstrom) Reed.
Respect calls may be made from 9:00 a.m until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, June 16, 2022 at the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home in Riley, KS. The family will not be present.
Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, 2022 at the Randolph United Methodist Church officiated by Pastor Bruce Ferguson accompanied by Pastor Sandy Ferguson and Chaplain Kelly Pittman. There will be a luncheon immediately following the funeral service at the church. A private family burial will be in the Randolph Fancy Creek Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Randolph United Methodist Women, Good Shepherd Hospice House, or Leonardville Nursing Home and left in care of the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 176, Riley, KS 66531.