Kenneth J. Francois, 91
Dec. 2, 1923 -- June 21, 2015

Mr. Ken Francois, of Cedarburg, passed away Sunday morning, June 21, 2015, at Lasata’s Rehabilitation center in Cedarburg. He was 91 years old. Ken was born Dec. 2, 1923, in Marquette, Mich., the son of Joseph and Gladys (nee Van De Zande) Francois. After graduating high school, he attended college at Michigan Tech, where he studied forestry.

Ken proudly served his country in the United States Army. On June 14, 1947, he was united in marriage with Ella Schafer in L'Anse, Mich. The couple just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

In 1960, Ken began Lumber Sales and Products in Jackson, and the company still exists today under the leadership of his son. He also started numerous other successful businesses in the wood industry throughout his career. “Big Ken” was an ambitious and hard worker and instilled a strong work ethic in all his children.

Ken was a member of St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church. He was a Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers fan, was passionate about his career and loved trees, logging and wood. He enjoyed feeding wildlife and birds in his backyard and making people laugh.

Most importantly, he enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He was his family's rock and hero, and will be dearly missed every day.

Ken is survived by his wife, Ella, and their children: Joseph (Penny) Francois of Minocqua, Jim (Melinda) Francois of Cedarburg and Mary Francois (Fred Hadler) of Wauwatosa. He is further survived by two daughters-in-law: Nancy Francois of Cedarburg and Tamara Francois-Newbauer of Bayside; 13 grandchildren; one brother, Richard Francois of L’Anse, Mich.; two sisters: JoAnn Michaud of Iron Mountain, Mich., and Linda (Jon) Bastian of Fond du Lac; brother-in-law, Louie Santini of West Bend; and nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Ken is preceded in death by three sons: Michael, Jay (Sheila) and David and two sisters: Phyllis Santini and Marilyn McKindles.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, 2015, at St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church North, 1375 Covered Bridge Road in Cedarburg, with Father Justin Lopina presiding.

The family will receive visitors at the church on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Ken will be laid to rest in the parish cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to a charity of the donor's choice in Ken's name. The Eernisse Funeral Home, Cedarburg, is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

The family would like to thank the staff of Lasata Care Center for their gentle and kind care of Ken and his family.