Dr. Carter James Francis

Dr. Carter James Francis, age 76 of Rapid City, SD, died November 23, 2008, following a brief illness.

Memorial services will be held 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 5, at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church (4500 Jackson Blvd.) in Rapid City, with Father Dan Juelfs as celebrant, with a reception to follow at the church.

Interment with military honors by the Sturgis Honor Guard, will be held 2:00 p.m. Friday, at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

Carter James Francis was born January 20, 1932, in Belle Fourche, SD, the son of Dr. Charles V. and Vera (Blackstone) Francis. At the age of six, the family moved to Kadoka where he attended elementary school. In 1945 the family moved to Philip where Carter graduated from high school in 1950 and then attended the University of South Dakota, graduating in 1954. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on July 27, 1954 and served as a medical specialist in Germany for two years, being honorably discharged on July 2, 1956.

Carter was married to Patricia Welfl in Philip on November 24, 1956. They then moved to Chicago where he received his DDS degree from Loyola University in 1961. After graduating, Dr. Francis moved his family to Steamboat Springs, CO, in the fall of 1961 and opened a dental office there, serving that community for fourteen years. It was here that they raised their two sons, enjoying the mountains, skiing, fishing and camping. Music was always a big part of his life, and he loved playing his pipe organ and "rattling the windows" daily until his death. He was also blessed with a beautiful singing voice that he shared regularly in his church, as well as numerous local musical productions when the family lived in Steamboat.

In 1975, the family moved to Dallas, TX, where he attended Baylor University and received his specialist degree in Endodontics. They relocated to Denver in 1977 and he opened an office there for several years. After getting divorced, he subsequently moved to Rapid City and opened the first Endodontic Clinic in western South Dakota in 1987. Dr. Francis was well-renowned in the dental profession, and he retired from practice in 2004.

Dr. Francis is survived by his two sons and their children, Carter Francis, Jr. and his daughter, Kaylan, and Joe Francis and his wife, Jennifer, and their son, Jack, all of Denver; his twin sister, Janie Kennedy of Philip; a brother, Charles Francis and his wife, Dixie, of North Platte, NE; and numerous nieces and nephews who dearly loved their "Uncle Jim."

Dr. Francis was preceded in death by his parents.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for the Music Fund at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Keystone, SD.

Arrangements are with the Rush Funeral Home of Philip. Online guestbook available at www.rushfuneralhome.com