Edward Reno France, 77, died May 31, 2019, in Russellville, Arkansas, after a long, valiant battle with Parkinson's disease. He was born December 24, 1941, in Memphis, TN, the first son of Reno France (born Guerino Francescangeli) and Albina "Bea" (Fratesi) France.
“Eddie” was a 1959 graduate of Forrest City High School, where he served as senior class president and was named "Mr. Forrest City High" by fellow students and "Best Athlete" by his coaches. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, with honors, from Christian Brothers College in Memphis and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He later became licensed as a Professional Engineer. Ed’s early career brought him to Hamilton Standard in Connecticut, where he helped design the ventilation system for spacesuits used on Apollo 11. He later worked for AP&L/Entergy in Little Rock and Russellville for nearly 25 years before retiring in 2003.
Ed was a devout Catholic, passionate about the study and practice of his faith. He was an active member of Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock (where he met his wife while president of the "friends and singles" club) and St. John Catholic Church, serving as a Eucharistic Minister and a member of the Knights of Columbus, among other roles. He was involved with many other service organizations through the years, including Big Brothers, Junior Achievement, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (and served as chair of the Arkansas chapter). Ed was an avid athlete for most of his life, playing baseball, football and basketball in his youth and continuing to run, play soccer, tennis and golf, and coach youth soccer and baseball in his adulthood, until illness made him unable to do so.
A loving husband, father, and grandfather, he was dedicated to his family and worked tirelessly for their benefit. As the oldest of five brothers, he understood early the importance of leading by example. Ed's lasting legacy will be the love he showed his family, his dedication to his faith, and the example he set for his loved ones: work hard, be gentle and kind, take the time to do it right.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents and granddaughter Angela Rose France. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Sharon (Dalla Rosa) France of Russellville; children Michael (wife Amber) of Little Rock, Elizabeth (Brian McCue) of Fayetteville, Jennifer (Jay Carman) of Austin, TX, and Caroline of Little Rock; brothers John (Elizabeth) of Clearwater, FL, Jerry of Houston, TX, Dr. Gene (Margie) of Little Rock and James (Kelly) of Little Rock; nine grandchildren: Haley, Andrew and Brett France; George, Beatrice and Peter McCue; and Wesley, Eliza and Oliver Carman; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren, and other loved ones.
Memorials may be made to St. Leo the Great University Parish capital campaign (https://stleoatu.weshareonline.org/, 509 W L St, Russellville, AR 72801), St. John Catholic School (1900 W Main St, Russellville, AR 72801), or Arkansas Hospice (https://www.arkansashospice.org/foundation/donate/, 14 Parkstone Circle, North Little Rock, AR 72116).
Visitation will be held Tuesday, June 4, 2019, from 5:00pm to 6:00 pm at St. John Catholic Church in Russellville, with Rosary beginning at 6:00 pm. A funeral Mass will be held at 10:00am, Wednesday, June 5, also at St. John Catholic Church in Russellville. Interment will follow at 4:00 pm at St. Joseph Cemetery in Tontitown, AR, under the direction of Humphrey Funeral Service. Internet obituary and online guestbook are available at www.humphreyfuneral.com.
St. Leo the Great University Parish Capital Campaign
PO Box 9033, Russellville AR 72811
St. John Catholic School
1900 West Main, Russellville AR 72801
Arkansas Hospice of Russellville
2405 East Parkway Ste 3, Russellville AR 72801