Fran [December 26, 2005] was born Dec. 12, 1921, in Prescott, to Glenn Wildman and Jane (Sleeper) Wildman.
Fran moved to Tucson in 1924, where he lived while his father obtained an engineering degree from the University of Arizona. In 1927, he moved to Redwood City, Calif. He graduated from Sequoia Union High School, where he was drum major of the high school band. He was in the Army (CMTC) 1939-40, until he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1940. He was in Iceland (European Theater), when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Later in 1941, he was sent to New Caledonia (South Pacific Theater), in the 1st Marine Raiders. He returned to the USA in 1942 and became a Naval Cadet in pilot training. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1945.
He married Thomasine (Tommie) Alexander on Aug. 17, 1946, and graduated from San Jose University in 1949, where he again was drum major for the band. He was designated a regular officer in the U.S. Air Force upon graduation. In the Air Force, he was stationed in California, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and overseas in Newfoundland and England. He retired in 1965, having served 26 years in all four branches of the military.
He taught school in California at Folsom State Prison, then moved to Prescott in 1966, where he taught at Prescott Junior High (now Mile High Middle School) for five years. He became an Assistant to the President of Prescott College and later was Director of Housing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In 1970, he received his Masters degree in History and Geography at NAU, Flagstaff. He retired a second time and became the Sequoia Signsmith for 20 years, painting and routing some 300 signs, most as gifts. He was known as “Mr. Timeline” having created with his wife, 10 timelines. Seven of those here in the tri-city area, two in Yuma at the Territorial Prison, Yuma State Park and one in Clarkston, Wash., for the Lewis and Clark Tri-centennial celebration.
He was a member of the First Congregational Church, where he served on the diaconate and the Board of Christian Education and was Head Usher for many years.
He served on the Friends of the Library Board, was a member of the Antique Auto Club and president of the Astronomy Club.
Fran transcribed his WWII diaries, and copies are at the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Library at Quantico, Va., and at the Institute on World War II & the Human Experience at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla. He also recorded his war memories for the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
He and his wife, Tommie, served as foster parents for two of Mr. Wildman’s junior high students and grandparents of an Embry-Riddle graduate.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, his son, Mark and Judith; three grandchildren, Maigan, Jennifer and Michael; brother, Jack of California; a half-brother, Glenn of California; a grandson, Martin and Vickie Elder of Indiana; three great-grandchildren, Rebecca, Micah and Sarah; a foster son, Bruce and Sandy Barton of Twin Falls, Idaho; adopted son, John and Janet Rodgers of Fair Oaks, Calif.; and dear friends, Jerry and Karen Rather of Parker, Ariz., and Steve Williams of Santa Barbara, Calif.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2006, at the First Congregational Church, 216 E. Gurley St., Prescott.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to the Kidney Foundation, 4203 E. Indian School Road, Suite #140, Phoenix, Ariz., 85008; the American Diabetes Association, 106 North Cortez St., P.O. Box 13141, Prescott, Ariz., 86304; 1st Congregational Church, 216 E. Gurley St., Prescott, Ariz., 86301 or KNAU, P.O. Box 5764, Flagstaff, Ariz., 86011.
The Arizona Ruffner Wakelin Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.
Information provided by survivors.