HARLEM - Francis was born on Dec. 10, 1917, in Harlem, and died on March 17, 2002, at the age of 84.
He was the son of John and Alice (Miller) Bardanouve, who were homesteaders in Blaine County. Francis' maternal grandparents were also early homesteaders, making the present Bardanouve ranch a three-generation operation.
Francis graduated from Harlem High School in 1937. In 1969, Francis was elected to the Montana House of Representatives, where he served for 36 years, making him the second-longest serving legislator in Montana history. In this capacity, Francis was responsible for many important laws that benefited the state he loved.
Francis was a bachelor for many years until he married his wife, Venus, on June 25, 1967, and acquired the family whom he loved greatly. Francis and his wife Venus were awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Montana State University in 1996.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Virginia Williams; and his aunt, Freda Hansen. Francis' family includes his three children, Kathleen Barnes of Fountain Valley, Calif., Dr. Kedric Cecil of Havre, and Elizabeth Kuntz of Harlem, as well as their spouses, Guy Barnes, Johanna Cecil and Reuben Kuntz. There also are 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Francis is a beloved son of Montana and will be greatly missed by his many friends, colleagues and family.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, March 22, in the Harlem High School Gymnasium. Burial will follow in Harlem Cemetery.