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Renee Treasa Weiss Francis

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Renee Treasa Weiss Francis, 74, died Jan. 15, 2006, in Henderson, Nev., after a courageous battle with cancer. She died in the home of her daughter, Kerry, and son-in-law, Greg, surrounded by all of her children and grandchildren.

Renee was born Oct. 15, 1931, in Elgin, N.D., to Mathilda and Frederick Weiss, one of 16 children and the youngest daughter. Renee grew up on the small family farm and led the life of a rural girl, helping on the farm and around the tiny house. Her family loved music, and Renee and her sister, Cecilia, were already performing at church and at county fairs at the ages of 5 and 6 years old, harmonizing and wearing the little dresses their mother made for them. Renee graduated from high school at the age of 17, and left soon after to live with siblings in Portland, Ore., where her singing career blossomed. Renee sang in clubs and ballrooms around the Portland area with a variety of bands and also did some modeling and radio spots. While still a teenager she began traveling with a number of bands, including the Henry Busse band. During this time in her life she was able to travel to the 48 contiguous states in the continental U.S.A. Most significantly, in her late teens, Renee attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Portland, and there she gave her life to Christ. Thus began her life of faith, which grew, deepened, and flourished over the course of her life.

In 1955 Renee met Joe Francis at the Wort Hotel in Jackson, Wyo., where he was working and she was singing. After about 10 months they were reunited in Las Vegas, Nev., where Joe had come to work and Renee was singing. After one week they were married March 8, 1956, by the justice of the peace. Shortly thereafter they moved to Reno, where Renee began her new career as a wife and mother and Joe began his lifelong career in gaming. He was with Harrah’s for the last 23 years of his life. At the time of Joe’s death, he was the senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Holiday Casino Las Vegas. Renee said that Joe was the one man she was willing to give up her singing career for, and gladly did so when they married. They raised their four children in Reno and Lake Tahoe, and the family enjoyed outdoor sports like camping, boating, water and snow skiing, hiking, tennis, and golf, as well as family vacations. They attended churches in Reno and later Lake Tahoe, and Renee was always active in the church, singing in the choirs, attending Bible studies, and serving in a variety of capacities. She was a wonderful wife and mother, and she instilled her love for God in her children, both by word and by action.

Renee and Joe moved to Las Vegas in 1983. They enjoyed their lives as empty-nesters, playing golf and tennis, taking long walks outside, traveling, and visiting their grown children. Joe died in August 1987, and Renee spent her last 18 years as a widow. Her love for Joe never faded, and she yearned for the day when she believed they would be reunited in heaven. Renee filled her life with family, friends, church and her Christian walk, service, and tennis, golf, and bridge. Some of the ways in which Renee served included volunteering at Nathan Adelson Hospice, visiting the elderly in nursing homes, helping care for infant triplets, leading Bible studies, prayer ministry and so many other church ministries, and helping her children and grandchildren in many ways. Renee enjoyed sharing the lives of her six grandchildren. She was a familiar presence at her grandchildren’s programs, recitals, games, and other events, as well as in their homes. Renee also traveled extensively with her son, Joel, to places like Alaska, Spain, Norway, Israel, Germany, Nova Scotia, and Eastern Europe.

Renee was admired for her faith in Christ, her beauty, grace, and elegance, her love and concern for every person she knew, her acts of love and service, her spunk and energy and zest for life, her contagious and beautiful smile, and her faithfulness to all of her friends and relatives over the years. Her acts of love, kindness, and faithfulness cannot be numbered. Renee was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, and she will be deeply missed by all.

Renee is survived by her children, Kerry Dean, Heidi Peterson, and Joel Francis; sons-in-law, Greg Dean and Kurt Peterson; grandchildren, Aaron, Jared, Emily, and Lucas Dean, and Blake and Tucker Peterson; and siblings, Erna Bauer, Fred Weiss, Marvin Weiss, and Curtis Weiss and their families. She was predeceased by her husband and a son who died as a premature infant.

Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Jan. 21 at Warm Springs Baptist Church, 2075 E. Warm Springs Road, Las Vegas.

Arrangements are by Palm Mortuary.


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