Gloria Francis

Service Scheduled for: Thursday, Nov. 12 11:00 AM
Died: Nov. 5, 2020
Gloria Francis of Allentown, PA, died November 5, aged 90. Born in Stowe, she was the daughter of the late Austin and Mary Francis. She leaves behind her companion, Ann Baly; and a cousin, Janet Fine. She is buried in Pottstown.

Dr. Francis graduated from West Pottsgrove High School, Reading Hospital School of Nursing, and Ohio State University, all of which have honored her as a distinguished alumna. She retired as Professor Emerita of Psychiatric Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University.

A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, she held a PhD in medical sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. She was an innovator in psychiatric nursing and a pioneer in nursing research, with particular interests in loneliness and in conducting research that enabled hospitals and other institutions to make evidence-based decisions on the value of using therapeutic animals with patients.

Dr. Francis was the sole or first author of over 50 articles in refereed journals, another 50 articles, and two books, co-written with Barbara Munjas: Promoting Psychological Comfort and Manual of Socialpsychologic Assessment. She joined Munjas, Katherine Bobbitt, and Lorna Barrell in establishing the "Legacy Professorship in Psychiatric – – Mental Health Nursing" at VCU.

A lifelong musician, in high school Gloria played saxophone with a commercial band. She later played with the Richmond (VA) concert band and then the Pottsgrove community band. When a brain aneurism rendered her left hand unusable, she continued performing on the bass drum! She also sang with the Sanatoga Ridge Singers. Gloria was also a lifelong Lutheran, active in many congregations, beginning and ending at St. Peter, Pottstown.

Gloria loved animals, both those she "owned" and wild creatures. With some of her last energy, she still saw to it that wildlife could find nourishment at her door. So if you should wish to remember Gloria tangibly, you could consider a gift to either the National Wildlife Federation or to the Legacy Professorship.