Eulogy for Francis Pritscher

  In memory of
  Francis Pritscher

  Presented by Jayne Feathers
  April 30, 2013


Francis Pritscher was born April 12, 1925 to Charles and Jennie Larson Pritscher in Attica Indiana.  He passed away March 23, 2013 just shy of his 88th birthday, having spent his last years as a resident of Westminster Village as a result of his needs related to advancing Parkinson’s disease.

1925 – 2013.  These dates represent the parentheses of Francis’ life.  And as the adage goes, it is what happens in the dash between the dates that tell our life story.  So, the Francis’ dash….

What I know of Francis’ story picks up around 18 years of age.  Following graduation from Attica High School, Francis enrolled at Purdue University and received dual degrees in engineering and psychology while also involved in ROTC.  Upon graduation he went on active duty in the Navy.  His military years are unknown to me, but he was honorably discharged and returned to Attica. 

Francis’ father Charlie owned and operated a Standard Oil gas station in Attica.  Francis went to work learning many things at his father’s business. Quickly though, his life changed at the start of the 1950’s.   On January 22, 1951 he married his bride of 61 years, Carolyn Heitkam and brought her from Indianapolis to Attica to set up housekeeping while he opened Pritscher Pontiac on the site of his father’s former gas station.

Within several years Francis and Carolyn’s children Michael and Kathleen were born and using a car metaphor, Francis’ life was moving down the road, picking up speed.

Francis proved to be both visionary and entrepreneurial in business.  He saw opportunity, took risks and learned new business models to meet the needs of customers.  Understanding that some customers in the late 50’s needed help to purchase used automobiles, he started the Community Investment Finance Corporation with proceeds came from his auto business.  Eventually the business expanded to personal loans for household goods.  About 1960, Francis took on a partner at the Pontiac dealership and the business became Pritscher Scott Pontiac Buick.

During these years as his children were growing up, Francis and his wife took great pleasure to spending weeks at a time with them vacationing.  Always the outdoorsman, Francis especially enjoyed sharing times with them on the ski slopes of Utah and Colorado.

Francis was especially an avid hunter and fisherman.  Every year he went on a major expedition.  He had many outdoor trophies to commemorate his successful exploits.  Friend and fellow duplicate bridge player Eldon Ortman said he especially enjoyed going to a Canadian fish camp annually in early spring as the ice was coming out. 

He used to have his prize heads mounted and hung in his study in his home.  Gene Hills said friend and spouses would be invited for dinner and after dinner Francis and the men would retire to his den to hang his prize trophies.

From 1960 – 2000, in addition to his Attica car dealership and the Community Investment Finance Corporation, Francis started and owned the following businesses:  Executive Motor Company at the corner of 30th and Teal in Lafayette, Shawnee Realty and Community Rapid Mortgage Company.  In all of these ventures, Francis looked for individuals that had potential and character, mentored them, and helped them develop into strong and successful employees.  Needless to say, these peoples’ lives were enriched by the opportunities Francis gave them.  He valued their input and said partner and friend Ben Day, his door was always open for suggestions.  Ben added however, that the hardest job he ever had was to 2nd guess Francis.  He was always thinking, and loved to work.  And most humbling was the fact that so many people felt that Francis was a difference maker in their lives.

Francis and Carolyn moved to Capilano in 1970, having built their dream home.  Francis was an avid golfer too.  A great story from his Thursday golfing buddies tells of him collecting lost balls, packaging them in food take out containers and giving each of them a “gift” at their end-of-season dinner!

He was a lifelong learner, returning to his college alma mater to take classes when all businesses were sold at the turn of the century.

Please join me for a moment of silence as we remember this humble, disciplined, kind, steadfast man, Francis Pritscher.

April 30, 2013