H. Minton Francis Sr., retired Army colonel and Howard University administrator, dies

July 23, 2014

H. Minton Francis Sr., a retired Army lieutenant colonel and former administrator at Howard University, died July 7 at a Washington hospice. He was 91 and lived in the District.

The cause was cardiac arrest, said his daughter, Marsha Francis.

Col. Francis served 21 years in the Army before retiring in 1965, including command of artillery units in World War II and the Korean War. He was deployed in Vietnam in the early 1960s just as the U.S. involvement in the Southeast Asian war was escalating. His final military assignment was staff officer for the Comptroller of the Army and Secretary of Defense.

Between 1980 and 1990, Col. Francis was a Howard University administrator, serving alternately as special assistant to the president, director of governmental affairs and director of the office of planning. After 1990, he was a Howard consultant.

Henry Minton Francis, a fifth-generation Washingtonian, was born on Dec. 23, 1922. He graduated from Dunbar High School in 1940 and from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1944.

Following his military service, Col. Francis was director of the planning, programing, and budgeting systems group in the office of the secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1966 to 1968. He was deputy assistant secretary of defense for equal opportunity from 1973 to 1977. He was active in District Republican politics.

His first marriage, to Doris Hall, ended in divorce. In 1982, he wed Alicia Garcia Dawson.

Besides his wife, of Washington, survivors include five children from his first marriage, Marsha A. Francis of Chevy Chase, Md., Dr. Henry M. Francis Jr. of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, Peter M. Francis of Detroit and Morya K.F. Ferris and John H. Francis, both of Atlanta; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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