Sheila DeeAnn Francis passed away on Friday, September 3, 2021, at the age of 70. She was born on October 31, 1950, in Clayton, New Mexico. She was raised near Kenton, Oklahoma for the first three years of her life and then her family moved to Dumas, Texas. She graduated as salutatorian from Dumas High School in 1968. She excelled in school and was at the top of her class. She enjoyed singing, playing piano and tennis. She was an excellent artist and enjoyed drawing, sketching and painting. She created wonderful works of art that she gifted to her family. Sheila had beautiful handwriting as well, and enjoyed writing. She loved fashion and dressing in the current style, keeping her mother busy sewing beautiful clothes.
Sheila was a Christian and most recently attended First Presbyterian Church in Amarillo. Religion was important to Sheila. She grew up singing hymns in her grandparent’s church and “I’ll Fly Away” was a song she requested at every family singalong around the piano. She had a beautiful soprano voice. Later on, she had friends in the Jewish and Catholic communities and was always curious to learn more about religion in different faiths. In the 70’s Sheila found it on her heart to make sure that her sister proclaimed Jesus as her Lord and Savior and created a special ceremony for her.
Education was very important to Sheila and she attended college at West Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University. She studied journalism and she was very excited that her niece Katie is interested in communications in her current studies in college. She was an excellent writer and photographer and found many opportunities to use these talents through her work. She ran her own photography business for several years called Sunflower Photographics. She was very creative and had a wonderful knack for capturing great photos.
Sheila loved animals and had many pets through the years. She loved having both dogs and cats as pets and it was important to her to help animals in need. She was one of the founding members of the Amarillo Animal Rights Association and ran their office in the early days of that organization. She had a very kind and gentle heart for animals and was often taking a rescue animal in to find it a home or feeding a neighborhood cat at her apartment. She even rescued a chihuahua that she named Winnie when she was on vacation in Mexico. She also made sure that her Uncle Lane and cousin Randy didn’t take their BB guns with them when they played together in the country growing up. All the wild animals were safe when she was around. She also took every chance she could to ride her grandma Francis’ horse Paint or her Uncle Lane’s horse Buttons.
Over the years, Sheila worked for the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, Amarillo Cancer Center, Boys Ranch, Moore County News Press, AIG as well as a few others. For one of her earliest jobs, she modeled clothing at the mall in Amarillo. She also wrapped presents at a store and from her experience there her presents were always wrapped beautifully. While she was married, she learned carpentry from her husband Jim Barnhart and worked with him. She was always game to learn something new and enjoyed outdoor work as well as office work. She also took care of her mother in recent years, running errands for her and helping her at home. Sheila enjoyed shopping and particularly loved looking for bargains at Dillard’s.
She is survived by her mother, Maurine Crist Francis of Amarillo and her sister, DeLee Francis and niece Katie Francis of Oklahoma City. She is also survived by her aunt Joy Crist Gilbert and husband Beryl and their extended family, uncle Lane Crist and wife Jean and their extended family of Clayton, New Mexico. Sheila has a large family that loved her very much.
She was preceded in death by her father, Jerry Francis, grandparents Forrest Franklin Francis & Millye Baxter Francis, grandparents Glen Ray Crist & Inez Lockhart Crist, aunts Hazel Francis, Myrtle Whitley, Betty Wiggins and uncles Forrest Francis and James Francis. She is having a grand reunion in heaven with her family.
Viewing and visitation will be at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home, 2800 Paramount Blvd. in Amarillo on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. CT. Services will be held on Thursday, September 9, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. MT at the First United Methodist Church, 200 N 5th Ave in Clayton, New Mexico. Graveside services will be held at the Clayton Cemetery immediately following. Reverend Carol Crist Hartsfield will be officiating. Lunch will be served at the church afterwards.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be sent to either the Amarillo SPCA, 11901 S. Coulter, Amarillo, TX 79119 or Wildcare Foundation, 7601 84th St, Noble, OK 73068.
The family wishes to extend our sincere thanks to BSA Hospice of the Southwest for their gentle care of Sheila during her last days. They also wish to thank Karen Clay and Carol Crist Hartsfield for their care, love and support during this time.
Family will be at 15 Cypress Pt in Amarillo.
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