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Helen Francis
Cherokee-Funeral service for Helen Francis will be Friday, January 16, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Cherokee United Methodist Church with Rev. Robert Duran officiating. Private family burial will take place at Cherokee Municipal Cemetery. Viewing will be Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Helen was born April 2, 1919 in Cherokee to Thomas C. and Reba (Millspaugh) Oare and passed from this life on January 11, 2015 at Brookside Retirement Community in Overbrook, Kansas.

Helen graduated from Cherokee High School with the class of 1936, attended Oklahoma State University, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. She served as a stenographer in the U. S. War Department during World War II in Washington, D.C. where she met her future husband E. J. Francis, or “Fran” as she called him. They were married in Cherokee, Oklahoma on August 8, 1943. Three children were born to Helen and Fran: Jan and Jill, twin daughters, and Sara Lou. Helen served as a civil servant throughout her career in various capacities and departments. She retired in 1984.

Following Fran’s death in 1987, Helen returned to Cherokee in 1992, where she was a member of the First United Methodist Church, P.E.O, Cherokee Mothers Self-Culture Club, and the National Association of Federal Retired Employees. Helen also was an active member of the Cherokee Cemetery Board and worked tirelessly on improvements to the landscape of the Cherokee Cemetery. She also served on the Northwest Regional Advisory Board of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband, E. J. Francis. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two brothers, Thomas Oare and B. Jack Oare; one sister, Margie Dell Oare Barr; and nephew, Jim Oare. Helen’s survivors are children, Jan (Phil) Lunn of Topeka, Kansas, Jill (Charles) Dohnalek of Parker, Colorado and Sara (Joe) Wheeley of Pampa, Texas; grandchildren, Robin Dohnalek (Dave) Louks, J. J. Wheeley Slatten, Shelby Lunn (Bo) Bowen, James (Barb) Dohnalek, Heather Wheeley (Richie) Thompson and Joanna Wheeley; great grandchildren, Joseph Slatten, Jace Bowen, Julia Louks, Jennifer Louks, Rowen Dohnalek, and Kiera Dohnalek; nephews, John Barr, Burt Barr, Tom Oare and John Oare.

Memorials may be given to the Cherokee First United Methodist Church, Brookside Retirement Community in Overbrook, Kansas, or to Grace Hospice of Topeka, Kansas through the funeral home.

Expressions from friends and relatives

Please express your condolences or memories below. Our staff will ensure they are posted in a timely manner.

May this tribute bring comforting words and pleasant memories during this difficult time. It has been an honor serving your family.
Lanman Funeral Home Staff


Prayers are with the family at this difficult time. May God give you his peace.
Tammy Parker


I am so very sorry for your loss. She left such a great legacy and all she did and did for others.A truly blessed lady. Prayers for your family.
Jo Linda Childress


To my long lost best friend Jill, who I have tried so hard to find you through social media, this is Barbara Purcell (Jones). I apologize for finding you this way at this sad time in your life, but I have to thank Randy Wright for finding this information for me. There is not a nighttime sky when I gaze at the stars that I don't remember our fun times doing this on Monument Avenue and dreaming of our futures. I hope life has treated you well and would love to hear from you. I am on Facebook...Barbara Purcell Jones. Take care and know your mom is now watching us from those beautiful skies
Barbara Purcell Jones



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Lanman Funeral Home Inc.
309 E. 4th
Helena, OK

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Cherokee, OK

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