BEAVER COVE - Vernon Odell Francis, 78, loving and devoted husband of the late Marion (Bode) Francis, passed away peacefully January 11th, 2009 at the Maine Veterans Home in Bangor. He was born November 10, 1930, in Shirley, Maine, the son of the late Vernie Benjamin and Minnie (Simpson) Francis. Vernon graduated from Foxcroft Academy at the top of his class, then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he served 33 years, including serving in Belgium under Generals Goodpastor and Haig. He was renowned for his perfection in duty and service and received many awards, commendations and medals. He retired in 1982 from the USAF with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant then returned to Stockton Springs, Maine, where he was employed as Town Treasurer and as a clerk for the US Postal Service in Bucksport. In 1989, he relocated with his wife, Marion, to Beaver Cove where they built their dream home and where he served as Postmaster of Greenville Junction until his retirement in 1997. During his tour in Belgium he attended college at night through the University of Maryland, and completed a BA degree in Business Management, graduating with highest honors. He also studied the French language and learned to read, write and speak French fluently. Vernon was a Scottish Rite, 32 degree Mason, and a Shriner member of the Philae Shrine Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Vernon was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on November 4, 1971 at the Polaris Lodge #8618 A.F.& A.M. in Goose Bay, Labrador, and later admitted by affiliation to Pownal Lodge #119, Stockton Springs, in 1983 where he served with distinction as secretary for five years. Upon relocating to Beaver Cove, Brother Francis transferred his membership to the Columbia-Doric Lodge of Greenville, on April 6, 1994. He will be fondly remembered as a devoted Master Mason, and as a thoughtful and kind person. Vernon also held membership with the Order of the Eastern Star, the American Legion, AFA, NAPUS, and was a fervent supporter of the Democratic Party. Vernon excelled as a witty, eloquent, speaker and writer. He always found the time to volunteer his services to organizations like the Lions Club, Toast Masters, Kiwanis and Rotary Club. He also enjoyed playing Santa Claus for many years during his term in the Armed Forces to the delight of many children. During a tour of duty in London England, he met his wife, Marion. They shared a love for opera and together actively supported The Maine Center of the Arts, The Metropolitan Opera and The Surry Opera Company. Along with his love for gourmet dining, he was a fine wine enthusiast and was inducted into the wine guild of Hospitallier D’ Pomerol while living in Belgium in the 80’s. . His friends often referred to him as “V.O.” or “Chief” which always pleased him. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, enthusiastically sharing with them his love of classical music. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends. Vernon was predeceased by his loving wife of 41 years, Marion Bode of Hamburg, Germany; Brother, David W. Francis; sister, Violet Nadine Spaulding; and nephew, Rusty Spaulding. He is survived by his brother, Carl B. Francis and wife Jaqueline; sister, Nancy Greenlaw; daughters, Anneliese and husband Wade Frecker of Stockton Springs; Claudette and husband Jim Masters of Chino Valley, Arizona; grandchildren Matthew R. Francis, Fabienne F. and Rory R.Van Noy; 3 great grandchildren, Reuben, Victoria, Jena; 13 nephews and nieces. A Masonic Service will be held at the Mariners Masonic Lodge #68, Route One, Searsport on Saturday, January 31st at 2pm, with a gathering of family and friends afterwards to celebrate the life of Vernon. Burial services will be held in the early spring at the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta. The family wishes to extend our thanks to the staff at the Maine Veterans Home for their loving care and support of Vernon. Donations may be made in his memory to the Maine Center of the Arts, The Surry Opera Company, or the local Humane Society. End of life services provided by Crabiel & Riposta Funeral Home.