Jon's LegacyJon Francis was a remarkable young man. He loved deeply and was deeply loved. During his brief life he left many footprints. Jon touched, loved and inspired others. He lived an inspirational life of deep faith, love and service. He was a fun and joyful teacher and Christian leader who attracted others by his down-to earth, authentic faith – and he was never boring.
Jon was director of youth ministry at Ascension Lutheran Church in Ogden, Utah and a counselor for several years at Luther Heights Bible Camp (LHBC) near Ketchum, Idaho. From a young age, Jon lived his faith and ministry. He volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, was a leader at Teens Encounter Christ, worked at Gethsemane Day Camp in Minneapolis, a homeless shelter for children, served as a Peer Counselor at Stillwater High School, was captain of his high school and college track and cross country teams, taught Sunday School at Ascension Episcopal, became a mentor at Edison Middle School and led a bible study class at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While at Ascension Lutheran, Jon also worked as a volunteer at their preschool. He loved children and they loved him.
Jon ran long distances and climbed mountains, not only to challenge himself, but also to glorify God. He respected and loved people and nature and stood in awe of God’s creation.
On Saturday morning, July 15, 2006, 24-year old Jon Francis, of Stillwater, Minnesota, climbed Grand Mogul in the rugged Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. He reached the summit but did not return. The official search, led by local law enforcement authorities, lasted for only 29 hours and was unsuccessful in finding him.
One of the searchers brought down a note that Jon had left in the summit registry. It read: “07/15/06. Jon Francis, *LHBC (Luther Heights Bible Camp) and Ogden Utah. Climbed avalanche field to east face and east ridge. Great times bouldering! All Glory to God for the climb and the beautiful Sawtooths.”
A 12 month, family-funded search, employing hundreds of volunteers and professional search and rescue resources achieved the recovery of Jon’s remains on July 24, 2007. Jon was laid to rest at home in Minnesota, on October 9, 2007.
Founded in January 2007, The Jon Francis Foundation will provide an opportunity to honor Jon’s memory and to pass on his legacy of love, faith and service. Jon understood that; “it’s not what we gather, but what we scatter, that defines the kind of life you have lived.”