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Indian Island - Dean Anthony Francis, "Deano", 59, died unexpectedly May 13, 2019 at his residence. He was born January 31, 1960, in Bangor, a son James Alvin and Mary Helena (Sappier) Francis.
Dean grew up on Indian Island and later moved to Millinocket, graduating from Stearns High School, Class of 1979. He was employed as a paper maker at Great Northern Paper for many years. He served as a firefighter and EMT for the town of East Millinocket and served on the GNP HazMat team. Upon the mills closing Dean transitioned to becoming an Electrician, working for Sugarloaf and other electrician companies. Dean found a great deal of peace and solitude in nature and especially floating around in his boat on the Penobscot River. He enjoyed moose hunting, fishing, fiddle heading and everything and anything else outdoors; and as a proud member of the Penobscot Nation enjoyed drumming, singing, and dancing at community events and will be remembered as a cultural educator of these gifts of which he gave back to his community. But his greatest joy came from time spent with his children and grandchildren. Nothing in this life was more important to him than teaching his children and grandchildren the gifts he possessed and learned from the creator.
He is survived by three children, Nick Francis and his wife Melissa; Nastassja Francis and her fiancé Alex Graves; Yuri Francis; three grandchildren Xan(man), Kadri, and Mailaya; his mother Mary Fitzgerald; siblings Laura Francis and Mark Bolduc of NH, Lee Ann Francis and Zuo Francis of Indian Island, Lyle Francis of Fairfield, and Annette Desjardins.
He was predeceased by his father, and siblings, EJ Francis; Rick Perry; and Jacqui Francis.
A celebration of his life will begin at 12 Noon Friday, May 17, 2019, at the Sockalexis Bingo Hall, 16 Wabanaki Way, Indian Island, where a reception will immediately follow until 3p.m.
Published on May 15, 2019
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26 posts

Marguerite ( Marge) Barker
May 21, 2019
Mary, I was so very sad for Dean's passing. My condolences go out to your family. I remember when Dean went to a fire attack class in Orono. I did not know the that he was a firefighter, as I. I will always remember my cousin as we all grew up on Church, not to mention all those diapers!!!!! I will always remember him as one of my favorite cousins. I will always remember when he went moose hunting, as I would see him sometimes. I know I am late on condolences but I don't get around as often as I wish to. Old age medical problems.
Sam Morrison
May 20, 2019
Rest in peace my friend
David Packard
May 19, 2019
My prayers are with you, never met a more caring life loving family, may peace be with you all
Teresa Breton
May 17, 2019
Forever loved and you'll be forever missed!!!! Soar high my friend!!!
May 17, 2019
I met Dean many years ago through my work and while I didn't know him well, I feel blessed to have met him. He was an incredible pressence and such light! Always smiling and had a wonderful sense of humor. I remember he gave me the Gathering Songs CD and feeling so honored that he would give that to me. It was been a healing part of my journey and I am grateful for that and to him for sharing that with me. I will cherish the memories of seeing him over the years at the Basketmaker events drumming with the Burnurwurbskek Singers. My deepest sympathies to his family, friends and the Penobscot Nation. Thinking of you all and sending much love and peace your way.
Jen Knight
May 17, 2019
Dean, he was a good one. I have so many incredible memories with him. I met him,  some 19 or 20 years ago, when he would  drum with Burnurwurbskek Singers, at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center when I worked there. I had drummed for many years prior to meeting Dean, but at the time did not have one of my own. I asked if he knew anyone in his tribe who made drums that I could learn from. He connected me with Barry and Lori Dana. That summer, I acted as an on site Wilderness First Responder, in case of emergency during the time they had a group of teens from their tribe on their land. While I chiseled away at my drum, I learned songs of their ancestors, as they taught them to the kids. It was an a...mazing experience. During my time there Bear medicine came in to help me find, saw, and haul the huge section of the cedar blowdown, that became my drum. I connected with Moose, as I soaked and stretched the hide around the frame. As I walked on the land, I saw countless ancestors walking with me, at times through me, and all around. Such sacred space there along the Kennebec river. I have Dean, Barry, and Lori to thank for that unforgettable experience. That drum is sacred to me, and I use it in my healing and journey work.

Over the years, Dean came to cross country ski often at the outdoor center, and given that at least a third of the trails were on Penobscot land, we had some welcome regulars from the tribe. He was always so happy, and a joy to spend time with. I will never forget one spring day, I had the music cranked, midweek and all, and not a lot of people out on the xc ski trails. The Indigo Girls, their double live album, blaring onto the trails. Dean came back from his ski with the biggest grin on his face. He said he couldn't have asked for a better afternoon, a beautiful warm sunny day, spring skiing, and "Bury my heart at Wounded Knee" cranking through the woods, lol! He loved it!

The last time I got to drum and sing with Dean was after another friend's celebration of life gathering. A handful of us gathered around a fire pit at the base of Sugarloaf, with some of our dearest friends. I drummed with the drum I made years earlier. One of many things I loved about Dean was that it never mattered how much time passed in between when we saw each other, it was like no time had passed. When I found out that he had left his physical form, I had instant tears, and cried for a while before falling asleep Wednesday night. When I awoke Thursday morning, early, the sun was beaming into my room, even through the room darkening curtains. As I came to, I remembered again that he had passed. I got sad again, and then I realized the sun beaming in was him. That was Dean, warmth, always happy to see you, lighting up the room with his presence, no matter what else was going on. It was always good to see him. Later on Thursday, as I was running errands in Keene, New Hampshire, I was at a stop light, and the car in front of me, with New Hampshire plates mind you, had a bumper sticker that said "Proud to be Penobscot". I grinned. Dean, that was definitely a message from Dean.

I will hold him in love and light, as he crosses over to the ancestors. Thank you for all the joy you continue to bring to us Dean! My heart is with Penobscot Nation today, and each of you whom he loved dearly. I wish I could be there in person, to share hugs and the many stories of the positive impact Dean has made for so many of us. I will be there in Spirit with all of you, and will be drumming with you from New Hampshire. Many Blessings, with Love, Jen Knight.
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Eric Austin
May 16, 2019
Nick and family, Melanie and I are truly sorry for your loss. Dean was a great man. A lot of threat memories flooding back of the times spent growing up around your family. Our thoughts are with you through this difficult time.
David & Kathy Page.
May 16, 2019
Our warmest & heartfelt condolences to the
Francis Family as you mourn the sudden
passing of Dean. I remember when Dean
moved to Millinocket. He & I got hired at
Great Northern Paper on the same day...
September 12, 1979. We worked together on
the same crew in the paper room for many
years. He often talked about his heritage &
pride being a member of the Penobscot Nation. A few times over the years I’ve seen
Dean drumming & chanting with other tribe
members at The College of the Atlantic in
Bar Harbor. They talked about the youth of the Penobscots learning & speaking their
native language to preserve the culture for future generations to follow. Dean will be
missed all who knew him.

... Respectfully,
David & Kathy Page.
East Millinocket, Maine.
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May 16, 2019
Eagles fly in the sky and Moose wander the land. My friend Deano, as I look up to see the beautiful flight and Guardian of the Creator's Heavens, your spirit will be present. While I watch the powerful, gentle passing of a Moose, your spirit will be present. Move freely my friend, my brother and join in Heaven the Chiefs and warriors that leave this world with the gifts of love and compassion that all we remember.
Fran and Vicky Lee
May 16, 2019
Please accept our sincere condolences to the entire family during these difficult times.
Jessica Morrison
May 16, 2019
I met Dean years ago in Millinocket. Beautiful man. My prayers to Deans family.
Jessica Morrison
May 16, 2019
I met Dean years ago in Millinocket. Beautiful man. My prayers to Deans family.
Jesse Spicer
May 16, 2019
Love to all of you, Burnurwurbskek singers will be played loudly today.
steven phillips
May 16, 2019
never new the man ,,,,,as a mic-mac from from houlton , i would like to send my condolences to the family of this man
Samantha Morin
May 15, 2019
Nick, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Peg Gallant
May 15, 2019
Condolences to Deano's family and loved ones, as he loved many. I know him from his years at Sugarloaf, and as an electrician who helped me at my home. I don't think I know of a kinder, more gracious soul. Fly free, my friend.
Bonnie Bell Kalish
May 15, 2019
Dean was a nice man! My thoughts and prayers are with his family! !
Bonnie Bell Kalish
May 15, 2019
Dean was a nice man. My thoughts and prayers are with his family!!
Ramona (Hallett) Cesare
May 15, 2019
The Stearns Class of ‘79 has lost another special friend. My heart is broken for Dean’s family and his many friends who are left behind. May Dean’s love of life be the path for all of us to follow.
Jon Myers
May 15, 2019
So sorry to hear of Dean’s passing and offer my sincere condolences to the family. He was a fellow paper maker, EMT, and firefighter who I always enjoyed working with. Deano had a warm calming spirit and I have good memories of the times I spent with this man. I am so sorry for your loss.
Lois-Ann Holmes
May 15, 2019
Dean was a very special person. From his drumming to the kind words he always had for me; he embodied kindness, a devilish wink in his eye, a little smile, a zest for life, a love for his culture, heritage and living life to the fullest. My life is fuller having had the opportunity to have known him. May he rest in peace, the traditions and lessons he taught to many be carried on and his spirit soar high in the sky watching over all he loved. Lost way to soon for us - but the Creator knows why!
Jeff Dewitt
May 15, 2019
Injoyed working with Dean at mill and on the fire department . RIP , you will be missed.
Val Hatch
May 15, 2019
My condolences to Dean's family. I am deeply sorry for your loss..
Prayers for the entire family and friends....Val ❤❤❤❤
Carrie Stanley
May 15, 2019
Dean was a nice guy. May his soul be at Peace/AMEN
Beth Clukey Peterson
May 15, 2019
Nick, I'm so sorry to hear about your father. I have many memories of times spent at your house around your family.