It is with great sadness that we announce Hugh Romar Francisco left us peacefully
on January 4, 2022 age of 98.
Hugh, also known as Boy to his family, was born on Christmas Day in 1923 in
Castle Rock, Washington. He spent his early years in Silver Lake. He recalls the
home they lived in could only be accessed by rowboat. Hugh graduated as
Salutatorian from Toutle Lake High School in 1941. He excelled in both scholastics
and athletics. He was quarterback in football and a member of the Toutle Lake
All-Star Basketball team. After high school, Hugh attended University of
Washington. His education was interrupted by the country’s entry into World
War II, when Hugh enlisted in the Navy in 1942.
After enlistment, Hugh was sent to Hospital Corp School, and was a Corpsman in
the 3rd Marine Division. He participated in two campaigns in Bougainville. He
received an injury while in Bougainville and was hospitalized for two months.
Once released, he returned to the 3rd Division, L company where he participated
in the landing on Guam. While on Guam, Hugh assisted in the evacuation of
Luther Skaggs, who was a Marine Medal of Honor recipient. Skaggs ended up
losing a leg in one Japanese nighttime attack.
While on leave, Hugh met the love of his life, Lolita Joyce Holten, who was best
friends with his brother Donald’s girlfriend. They began dating in 1945 and were
together for 10 months before getting married. Hugh always said Joyce was the
best thing in his life. She was a fine girl and the Belle of the Ball. They were
married for 61 year before she passed away in 2006.
After the War was over, Hugh spent two years as a Naval Recruiter in the Naval
Hospital in Seattle. After leaving the Navy, Hugh spent a year in Pullman studying
at WSU. While there, he was a State Boxing Champion. He returned home to
work for a variety of employers including Taylor Brother’s Logging in Castle Rock,
Weyerhaeuser, Long-Bell and Longview Fibre.
In 1948 Hugh took a test and was hired as a Courier with the Atomic Energy
Commission in Los Alamos, New Mexico with top secret clearance. As Courier for
AEC, Hugh traveled by car, truck, airplane and rail escorting documents and bomb
initiators to military bases across the country. It was during this position that he
had an opportunity to deliver a top secret document to Albert Einstein’s office. In
1953 he transferred to the Dept of US Customs and was able to return to the
Pacific Northwest. He was assigned to Astoria for 3 years, spent another 3 in
Portland, then was able to complete another 18 years at the Port Dock in
Longview, where he retired in 1971.