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Francis Many ’56

August 30, 2020, in Navarro, California, of a heart attack.

Known as Fran by his family, Francis was born and raised in rural Mendham Township, New Jersey. He graduated from Morristown High School and came to Reed in 1953 after discovering that the Colorado School of Mines was not to his liking. His favorite professor at Reed was Prof. John Pock [sociology 1955–98], of whom he spoke fondly for many years, and he wrote his thesis, “Students’ Ideal and Typical Teachers,” with Prof. Leslie Squier [psychology 1953–88] advising.

Fran married classmate Karen Renne ’56 on their graduation from Reed in 1956, and they spent 10 years together as graduate students in Eugene, Oregon, and in Berkeley, California. They spent their spare time backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and enjoying serious bicycle riding with a group of companions that included fellow Reedies Dorothy Frey Marshall ’54 and John Scott ’55. Fran’s many travel adventures took him from Cape Newenham in Alaska to Morocco. He roamed at various times from the Darien Gap in Panama to the Arctic Ocean village of Tuktoyaktuk.

In 1969, Fran married Sheila Stern, the mother of his sons Adam and Gabriel. He worked for many years as a statistician at the Survey Research Center at UC Berkeley, where he helped design and analyze results of diverse research projects in public health and social science. Among them were analysis of gerontological admissions to UCSF’s psych ward, prenatal risk factors in hyaline membrane disease, effects of maize-based replacement for breast milk in Guatemala, mortality risk factors from serpentine soil in Alameda County, and impact of justice system referrals on alcoholism treatment.

Fran’s lifelong passions were vegetable gardening and trees. He planted his first victory garden at age seven, treasured the native dogwood trees at his childhood home, and continued to grow food wherever he lived. So, it was only natural that he and third wife Kathy Janes retired to 40 acres of redwoods in Mendocino County in 1999, naming the place Many Acres. Fran created an orchard and practiced grafting. He built many raised beds for growing corn and other favorite veggies above the root-laden redwood soil. He grew his best garden ever during the summer of 2020, despite being weakened by heart problems. He died of a sudden heart attack among his redwoods, after having spent the morning working in the garden.

Fran is survived by Kathy Janes, his wife of 31 years; his son, Gabriel; and his younger brothers, Peter and Seth.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2021

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