Lawrence Ray Francom, 86, of Malad City, Idaho, passed away on April 13, 2017, following a brief illness. Ray was born on May 11, 1930, in Pomona, California to Joseph Edgar of Elwood, Utah and Cora Belle Webb Francom of Central, Arizona. He was the second of five children. When he was three, his father was tragically killed in a train accident. His widowed mother raised four small children during the Great Depression for many years before she remarried and had another child. It is from his mother that he learned to work hard and be resourceful. He also inherited her artistic talent, as she was a professional artist. He grew up in Southern California and there met his eternal sweetheart, Sherel Jeanette Walker. They were married on November 12, 1948. Their marriage was solemnized in the Los Angeles Temple on November 12, 1957, and they were married for over 68 years. Ray was drafted in the army after World War II and was stationed in Berlin, Germany. Sherel later joined him there, and they spent that year traveling all of Europe. After returning to the States, they started their family and had five children. They lived in Southern California, Northern California (Saratoga, Alameda, San Jose and Hollister), Utah (Orem and Price) and finally settled in Malad, Idaho.
Ray was a master of many trades. He began his career as a plumber and later branched out to become a building contractor. He also designed and fabricated equipment for mining gold. With pencil and hammer he designed and built many homes. He combined his creative mind and his desire to better the world to patent many ideas and products, which continued up until his death. Ray could do almost anything, and he instilled passion and ability in those he knew.
Ray was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a High Priest and served in many callings, including High Priest Group leader, Emergency Zone Leader, Priesthood Teacher and Home Teacher.
Feeling drawn to the Malad Valley, Ray purchased land there for his whole family to gather. He loved the community and enjoyed serving. He sang in the Community Choir, worked with the Lion’s Club for half a decade, where he served a term as president, and gave other public and private service. He had a wonderful voice and loved to sing and play the mandolin. After researching Welsh traditions, Ray came across the Eisteddfod. This sparked a desire to bring this tradition to the community of Malad, giving birth to the Malad Welsh Festival. He worked with many others to bring this old tradition to the community.
Ray’s crowning achievement was ever a work in progress: the building of his family. From raising his children, to offering them counsel and friendship as adults, to mentoring his grandchildren, he was both ardent and diligent. He will always be beloved and honored by those whose lives he had a hand in shaping.
He is survived by his wife, Sherel, and his five children: Larry (Karen) of Price, UT; Greg of Malad, ID; Debbie (Spero) Barbas of Malad, ID; Jennifer (Joseph) Lenaghen of Malad, ID; and Jeffery (Stephanie) also of Malad, ID; 18 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his step-father, Mac Alexander, his brothers Val and Gary and sister-in-law Rohenah.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, April 19 at 12 noon in the Horsley Funeral Home, 132 W. 300 N. Friends may visit with the family on Wednesday morning from 10:30-11:45 a.m. prior to the service. Burial will follow in the Malad City Cemetery.