More than 100 people showed up for the car parade to celebrate the 100th birthday of Heartland Hospice patient, Francis (Fran) Joseph Neis. “I’m overjoyed and I can’t believe there was a parade to celebrate my birthday,” said Fran.
Born in Gilman, Wisconsin in 1920, Fran’s 100 years have taken him on quite a journey. He graduated Marquette University in 1942, having studied pre-law. But his plans quickly changed when WWII broke out, prompting his enlistment in the Marine Corps. “My father served in WWI in the medical division,” said Fran. “The country was at war and I knew I’d be drafted,” he said.
Upon his arrival home from war, Fran made his home in Thorp, Wisconsin and began work at Thorp Finance. “I did everything from starting out behind the counter and eventually moving up to management,” he said. “I had my own office for a number of years. I worked for a little company that became a big company.” Fran worked for Thorp Finance in several Wisconsin office locations for more than 20 years. “I met my wife there!” he said.
Fran and his wife, Jeroma, married in 1947. Together they had three children and enjoyed traveling, especially during retirement. “Before we retired, we usually visited our parents or just went to the cottage where we enjoyed fishing and swimming,” said Fran. “But once we retired, we visited all the major U.S. cities. We also traveled to Europe, visiting Spain, Germany, Italy, France, England and Portugal. We even went to South America!” he exclaimed.
Fran, along with his daughter, Cathy, went on a Never Forgotten Honor Flight in 2011. “It was a thrill being with all of the veterans. There were vets from all branches of the military, and we loved comparing notes,” he said. Fran is a member of the Marshfield Legion and is in the 4th degree for the Marshfield Knights of Columbus.
Jeroma Neis passed in 2007 and Fran sold their home shortly after and moved to Aster Assisted Living of Marshfield, where he currently resides. “Fran’s dedication to our country and his family are so commendable,” commented Tanya Kundinger, executive director at Aster Assisted Living. “He is a thoughtful, thankful and friendly man. It’s been a privilege getting to know him and have him as an addition to our Aster family.”
"It's great to hear Fran tell stories about his past experiences,” said Heartland RN case manager Melissa Baranowski. “He has seen so many changes in the past 100 years but manages to keep up-to-date on technology and can use a computer better than I can!”