Francis William Einarson, 91, of International Falls, Minnesota, died Friday, May 10, 2019 at Chris Jensen Rehab Center in Duluth, Mn.
He was born on Sept. 27, 1927 in Middle River, Mn. to parents, James T. and Ellen R. Einarson.
Francis grew up in Middle River and graduated from Middle River High School in 1945.
Francis served in the U.S. Army from 1946-1947.
On April 14, 1951, Francis married Joyce Lucille Napper, and together they had five children, Twila “Pia," Franella "Piper,” Francis James, Tucky, and Thor.
Francis had a lifelong fascination with aviation. He took his first air ride in 1939, and learned to fly after the war.
When the International Falls Airport operation came up for sale in 1948, Francis and his brother Jim, bought the property and its business. Together with his parents, James and Ellen, and his brother Jim, they founded Einarson Bros. Flying Service. They ran the FBO offering flight-training, fuel, maintenance and sightseeing over the North Country.
He flew many humanitarian missions in the wilderness, aided the University of Minnesota's cosmic ray research program and lobbied the State and Federal governments to improve International Falls Airport.
Through his efforts the Falls International Airport grew from a small 3,000 foot runway to a first class International Airport with scheduled airline service.
Francis conducted many search and rescue operations and pioneered early air ambulance service to Northern Minnesota and Ontario. He flew many lifesaving air ambulance trips, and in 1970 he installed an incubator to transport premature infants.
Francis logged over 40,000 hours of flight time over the years.
He truly touched countless lives in his lifetime and is highly regarded by many.
In 1998 Francis was proudly inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.
Francis was preceded in death by his parents, James and Ellen; and his brother, James A. Einarson.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce L. Einarson; children, Twila L. (Harley) Peterson, Franella M. Einarson, Francis J. (Mary) Einarson, Tucky J. Dill, Thor W. (Karina) Einarson; seven grandchildren, Ariel Mio, Jonathan Mio, Elizabeth Einarson, Drake Dill, Anna Wilcox, Amanda Rogenrud, Taylor Rogenrud; four great-grandchildren, Westley Wilcox, Benjamin Wilcox, Elaine Wilcox, and Juliet Wilcox.
Visitation will be at Green Larsen Mortuary on Thursday, May 16, 2019 from 5-7 p.m.
Funeral services with full military rites will be conducted at the Evangelical Covenant Church on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 11 a.m.
Interment will be at Forest Hill Cemetery following a luncheon in the Family Life Center.
A Francis W. Einarson Scholarship Fund at Rainy River Community College will be established for students interested in aviation. Memorials may be directed care of Francis J. Einarson, 16157 70th Avenue North, Maple Grove, MN 55311.
Memorials also preferred to the Salvation Army, 1301 3rd Ave, International Falls, MN 56649, the International Falls Public Library, 750 4th St, International Falls, MN 56649.
Condolences may be left at www.greenlarsen.com
Arrangements are with Green-Larsen Mortuary, Inc.