Merrill R. Francis October 1, 2012

Merrill R. Francis, October 1, 2012 at age 80.  Merrill was born in Humboldt, Iowa, and lived in Rochester, NY, and Kenosha, WI, before moving to California.  He graduated from John Muir high school in Pasadena. He later attended Pomona College in Claremont, where he studied Economics, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated in 1954.  While in the U.S. Navy he was posted to the Naval District Headquarters, Seattle, WA, as a supply officer. Upon discharge he attended Stanford University Law School where he graduated in 1959. 

 He joined the firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, and Hampton in 1959 and spent his career there, retiring in 2001. He held leadership roles in legal organizations including the Financial Lawyers Conference, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the American College of Bankruptcy Board of Regents, and the Ninth Circuit Admissions Council.  He had been honored as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

 He was involved in civic activities, the arts, and various outdoor interests.  He served as President of the La Canada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Community Association, and received the Les Tupper Community Service Award in 1976 for his guidance and advocacy during the incorporation of La Canada Flintridge.  He was an avid art patron, admiring and supporting the work of Los Angeles area sculptors and painters.  He loved to sail, often spending time at Catalina Island.  He was also an avid runner completing several marathons.

 Merrill is survived by his wife, Maria Del Carmen Heffler, Indio, CA.  He is missed by his children Kerry Francis of Oakland; David Francis of Wooster, OH; and Robin Felix of Moraga; daughters and son of Nancy Francis of Oakland.  He leaves grandchildren Isabel Francis Bongue, Silvia Francis Bongue and Lia Francis Bongue of Wooster; Garrett and Carrington Felix of Moraga. He also leaves a brother, Blair Francis of San Diego, CA; sisters Diane Francis-Williams of NM and Jennifer Francis-Martin of Bozeman, MT.  He will be remembered by family, friends and colleagues for his distinctive sense of humor, exacting standards, mentorship, and sometimes colorful expressions.

A celebration of Merrill’s life will be held at Descanso Gardens, Van de Kamp Hall, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada-Flintridge, CA, at 1:30 PM on Sunday, November 11, 2012, reception to follow.  The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Pasadena Arts League at or to The Huntington Library, (

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World