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1931 Francis 2020

Francis X. Powers

December 5, 1931 — December 26, 2020

POWERS---Francis Xavier “Frank,” 89, Salix, PA, passed away Saturday, Dec. 26, at Windber Woods Senior Living Center. Francis was born on Dec. 5, 1931 in Titusville, PA, where he drove his siblings to distraction with pranks that rarely garnered serious consequences since he was the apple of his mother’s eye. He never lost his love of teasing, but it was tempered as years passed by the responsibility of providing for the love of his life, Patricia -- who he married in Titusville on Nov. 10, 1956 -- and their nine children. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict, then sold electronic parts for his father’s company. Francis later worked for Penelec in Johnstown for 37 years. He worked his way up from digging power-pole holes to Systems Load Supervisor. He worked for days on end as a key Penelec employee during the 1977 Johnstown Flood, working tirelessly to coordinate repair crews and manage the allocation of electricity to a city in crisis. He supplemented his Penelec income with TV and radio repair work from the garage of his Vinco home. Francis had many passions in his lifetime including photography, chess, golf, Notre Dame football, camping, crossword puzzles, and spirited debate. He was a self-taught engineer who designed home improvements and a yet-to-be-realized new windmill model. His children counted on him to provide advice and help figure out how to fix what was broken. Francis and Patricia frequently marveled at their children’s devotion to them. But it was Francis and Patricia’s example of unwavering devotion that taught their children about unconditional love. Zoom chats with his family over the last few months always included reassurances that Mom was OK. Patricia did most of the child-rearing, always with the frightening admonishment of “wait ‘til your father gets home!” to straighten out wayward activities. Francis enjoyed falling asleep in his favorite recliner chair with the latest infant baby on his chest at the end of his busy day. Francis never missed a meal, and never finished dinner without the predictable question, “What’s for dessert?!” It is little consolation that Francis is among the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have succumbed to COVID. Francis is preceded in death by his parents, Charles Francis and Sara (Volkstadt) Powers, and two brothers, Charles and Richard. He is survived by wife Patricia (English); sisters Patricia Steves and Mary Elizabeth Hajduk; sons Brian, Jeffrey, Vincent, Thomas, Cletus, and daughters Madeline (Cantu), Barbara, Jeannine (Prindle), Erin and 15 grandchildren. Funeral  mass and further celebrations of Francis’s life will be held after the pandemic recedes. Special thanks to Windber Woods Senior Living and Retirement Community. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to Windber Hospice or St. Michael Catholic Church in St. Michael, PA. The family is being served by Harris Funeral Home, 500 Cherry Lane, Richland. Online condolences may be posted at

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