William E. Francis, 91, passed away Saturday March 5, 2016 at Tockwotton on the Waterfront. He was the husband of the late Dorothy (Brookins) Francis. He was affectionately nicknamed “Moe”.
Born in Providence, Bill was the son of the late George Francis and Harriet (Johnson-Taylor) Francis.
William was a Sergeant with the Providence Police Department for 35 years and a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. Sergeant “Moe” Francis was a highly decorated leader who earned 14 Departmental Commendations for his bravery. Mr. Francis was honored by the late Mayor Cianci, The Providence City Counsel, The Rhode Island General Assembly, The Providence Police Department, The Fraternal Order of Police, The Rhode Island Minority Police Association and the RI Black Heritage Society. Known for his integrity and wisdom, he was a trusted advisor and mentor to the department’s patrolmen and management.
Mr. Francis was one of the first African American officers to work for the Providence Police Department, in 1956. Rosa Parks praised him for serving as an honorable civil rights pioneer and for protecting her and her staff while visiting Providence. William also served as a World War II Veteran. His unit was immortalized in the “Battle of the Bulge”. For his courageous service during this campaign, he received numerous awards and was promoted to Corporal.
He is survived by two daughters Michelle Francis-Davis and her husband Aaron of Providence, Shirley Francis-Fraser and her husband Allen of Providence, one brother Donald Taylor of South Kingstown, one sister Veronica Francis of East Providence and a host of nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by seven siblings: George Francis, Ralph Taylor, Owen Taylor, Ina Hughes, Lois Perry, Eileen Foye and Kenneth Francis.
His Funeral/Home Going Service will be held on Friday March 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM in the Olney Street Baptist Church 100 Olney Street, Providence RI. Burial with Military Honors will be in the RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery located at 301 S. County Trail at 1:00PM in Exeter, RI. Calling hours will be Thursday, March 10, 2016 from 5-8 PM in the PERRY-McSTAY FUNERAL HOME 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence
.The Family will accept flowers or donations may be made in memory of William to Tockwotton on the Waterfront c/o the Music & Memory Program. Gifts may be mailed to: Tockwotton on the Waterfront Mr. William E. Francis Memorial 500 Waterfront Drive East Providence, RI 02914