Jamile James “Jimmy” Francis, Jr., 73, husband of the late Cathren Crowell Francis, died on February 21, 2021 with his children by his side.
Born and raised in Greenville, Jimmy was the only child of the late Jamile J. Francis Sr. and Sophie Syracuse Francis.
He attended St. Mary’s School and graduated from Greenville Senior High School before obtaining his B.S. from Clemson University in 1969.
Co-founder of the Greenville Clemson Club, Jimmy was a lifelong supporter and lover of all things Clemson. His tailgates at football games were well known to many, and he did not miss a Clemson football or basketball game from the time he first stepped foot on campus in 1965 until his last days with us. He was a devoted Tiger and the epitome of a Clemson Gentleman.
Jimmy proudly began his real estate career at The Furman Company and then co-founded Easlan Capital in 1983. For fifty years he excelled in commercial real estate and residential development with many partners throughout Greenville, Charlotte, and Atlanta.
Jimmy was a brilliant businessman, but he was most proud of his family. His role as a husband, father, and grandfather was always his first priority.
Jimmy found the love of his life at the age of 14 when he met Cathy Crowell in his childhood neighborhood. He remained her devoted servant for the next 60 years, and beyond. Together they had two children and six grandchildren. Their children will always remember Jimmy’s love of dancing to beach music and The Spinners in the kitchen with his beautiful bride.
He never turned down a coaching position, and proudly led his son’s soccer, baseball and basketball teams. His crowning achievement was leading his son's 7th and 8th grade basketball teams to South Carolina Catholic State Championships. His now fifty-year-old former players still refer to him as “Coach,” and the state championship banners hang in the St. Mary's gym today.
Jimmy endured countless temper tantrums on the golf course, and many hours of dance recitals. He jokingly complained, but never missed a single chance to be present for his children and grandchildren and to provide advice.
Jimmy was a proud chef at all of his beloved wife’s civic projects, and together they were true friends and staunch supporters of the St. Francis Foundation Board (president), Greenville Chapter of the American Heart Association (president), St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Wade Hampton High School Booster Club, Greenville Urban League, United Way, Center for Developmental Services, and many, many more.
Jimmy was an avid golfer and member of the Greenville Country Club for more than fifty years, where he served as president in 1996. He always looked forward to and thoroughly enjoyed many 19th Hole Summits with his life long golfing buddies.
Jimmy is survived by his daughter Cathren Marie Lindsey (David) and his son Jamile James Francis III (Jamie), and his grandchildren, Carter and Sophie Lindsey, and Connor, Mills, Rawlings, and Fin Francis.
He was quick with a word of support, love, or sarcasm for all he loved, and he toasted each special occasion with a good Scotch. Always practical, Pops suggested that we refrain from posting an obituary to save on cost, but we have lovingly disregarded his wishes. Cheers.
His grandchildren want everyone to know, “Pops was a great man.”
Friends may pay their respects on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at Thomas McAfee Funeral Home Downtown. Due to Covid precautions the family will not be in attendance.
A private funeral mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, followed by the rite of committal at Woodlawn Memorial Park. Masks are required at all Thomas McAfee Funeral Home locations and attendees are strongly encouraged to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing.
The family hopes to host a Celebration of Life in the coming months.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Francis Foundation, 1 St. Francis Drive Greenville SC 29601, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 111 Hampton Ave. Greenville, SC 29601, or to a charity of one’s choice.