Grand Marshalls Reed and Leslie Francis
Leslie and Reed Francis have been named as the Grand Marshalls of this year’s July 24th Celebration and Parade.
Leslie Loveridge was born November 23, 1921 at the edge of Mapleton, overlooking Springville, to Joseph Leroy Loveridge and Mary Grace Fullmer. Reed Ferguson Francis was born in Lake Shore, Utah to Samuel Evan Francis and Barbara Ferguson, October 17, 1921. Reed moved to Springville in his senior year of high school. As he was walking the halls of Springville High, he said, “Hello” to a beautiful blonde and it changed his life forever.
Leslie and Reed’s first date was on his 17th birthday, and they went roller skating. That was the beginning of a multitude of fun and adventure that the two shared. After each exciting evening, they ended up at Leslie’s home to play games and raid the fridge.
After two years of a special romance, they were ready to get married. Reed went to San Diego and found a job in the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. The company was building B-24’s for the war in Germany. He saved for an engagement ring and wrote a letter to Leslie’s parents, asking for her hand in marriage. Leslie and Reed were married in the Salt Lake Temple on May 26, 1941. They returned to San Diego to begin their married life together.
For four years, they enjoyed beautiful San Diego and Reed was advanced to be a supervisor at the aircraft plant. Because he was 26 years old, he was drafted into the service. Leslie and their son Kent moved back to Utah, and Reed entered the Navy Air on January 9, 1945. He spent a year attending electronic schools. Leslie and their now two sons, Kent and Marvin, were able to spend the last several months of Reed’s training in Corpus Christi, Texas with him. Reed was discharged April 1946. Reed was able to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and graduated from BYU as an Elementary Teacher. He taught the 4th grade in Springville for two years. This was his most satisfying teaching experience. However, it was impossible to live with a salary of $2,200 per year, so they moved to Los Altos, California where the salary and benefits were much better. While in California, Reed also graduated from Stanford with a Masters’ Degree. After 25 years of teaching, he took an early retirement. Their little family had grown considerably during their years in California. Reed and Leslie had an energetic family of nine children that they moved back to Utah.
Retirement did not mean lazy days for the Francis family. They tried their hands at farming and worked for Howard Ruff taking care of his house, family, yard, and farm. They also continued their years of service in the LDS church by serving four missions. These missions took them to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific; San Jose, California; Navoo, Illinois; and Lansing, Michigan.
Leslie and Reed have enjoyed 72 years of romance in their special, happy marriage. And they can now include 84 descendants in their family. Mapleton is proud to honor Leslie and Reed Francis for their legacy of service and love.