Francis William Einarson, 91, of International Falls, Minn., died Friday, May 10, 2019, at Chris Jensen Rehab Center, Duluth, Minn.
He was born Sept. 27, 1927, in Middle River, Minn., 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 United States Army from 1946 to 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 and Thor W. (Karina) Einarson; seven grandchildren — Ariel Mio, Jonathan Mio, Elizabeth Einarson, Drake Dill (and fiance' Whitney Mostad), Anna (Tim) Wilcox, Amanda Rognerud and Taylor Rognerud; and four great-grandchildren — Westley, Benjamin, Elaine and Juliet Wilcox.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Green-Larsen Mortuary.
Funeral services with full military rites will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, May 17, at Evangelical Covenant Church.
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 Ave. N., Maple Grove, MN 55311.
Memorials also preferred to The Salvation Army, 1301 Third Ave., International Falls, MN 56649, and International Falls Public Library, 750 Fourth St., International Falls, MN 56649.
Condolences may be left at www.greenlarsen.com.
Arrangements are with Green-Larsen Mortuary Inc., International Falls.