Muriel C. “Mimi” Francis, 83, of Longboat Key, died April 6.
Born in Chicago, Mrs. Francis graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. in literature and later earned her B.F.A. from The Art Institute of Chicago. Upon graduation, she worked as an architectural interior designer for Conrad Hilton. After designing hundreds of hotel rooms and public spaces, she founded Muriel Francis Interiors.
After raising her two children, Mrs. Francis focused on philanthropic endeavors. She used her entrepreneurial skills to establish antique and resale shops that helped fund two Chicago hospitals, Mount Sinai Hospital and Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as the Children’s Heart Research Foundation at the University of Illinois. Access Community Health Centers honored Mrs. Francis and her husband, Paul, for their efforts in providing quality health care in Chicago. She was also a longstanding benefactor of land conservation through The Nature Conservancy in Madison, Wis., and The Catamount Center in Woodland Park, Colo.
An avid sculptor, Mrs. Francis’ steel structures are on display in several locations in Chicago. She also enjoyed many outdoor activities, including horseback riding and canoeing. She had a flair for the whimsical, favoring adventure tales, such as “The Wizard of Oz” and the “Harry Potter” series, which she loved to narrate for her grandchildren.
Mrs. Francis is survived by Paul, her husband of 59 years; her brother, Saul; son, Lee; daughter, Julie; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service was held Thursday, April 11, in Oak Park, Ill. Memorial donations may be made to Erie Family Health Center, 1701 W. Superior St., Chicago, Ill., 60622, or the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, 730 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, Colo., 80903.