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Lionel Francis

January 1, 1953 ~ October 9, 2019 (age 66)

Lionel Francis (Papa Pump) age 66, passed away on October 9 2019 surrounded by family in his home in Laurel MD.

Born January 1 1953 in Port Au Prince Haiti, son of the late William Francis and Georgette Nerette. He moved to the United States in 1970 and joined his family in New York City. Upon graduating high school, Lionel joined the United States Army. On the second of his three tours in Germany he met his eventual wife Donna Jean Graham. They were married on July 10, 1982 in Paoli PA. After receiving his bachelors degree from the University of Maryland, he rose to the rank of Warrant Officer at Fort Hood before being honorably discharged. The couple had their first child, Cassondra Elizabeth (Francis) Lyko in Germany before returning to the states. Once back, Lionel worked as a computer engineer for Bell Telephone which turned into Verizon. The couple welcomed their second child Collin Alexander Francis in June of 1988. Lionel moved to West Laurel in 1995 and quickly became a cornerstone of the community. He began coaching in the Laurel Boys and Girls Club as his daughter started to play soccer. He continued his passion for helping others by becoming the President of LBGC. After retiring from Verizon he turned his passion for fitness and athletics to his new career becoming the owner and General Manager of the Wellness for Life Fitness Centers. 

Lionel has a legacy of being a hardworking man, dedicated father and grandfather, and an amazing member of the community. He was a great friend to all with fond memories of West Laurel, the fitness center, and the local soccer scene. He provided for his family at all times while also being sure to help any person he could. Lionel always had a huge smile on his face that made you feel welcomed. He brought his resilience and strength with him until the end, knowing that Cancer will be cured one day.

Lionel is survived by his wife Donna, his son Collin, and his daughter Cassondra (her husband Brian and three daughters Mia, Marley, and Makayla). Lionel is also survived by his Mother Georgette, Brothers James, Jean, Woodley, Wildorf, Sisters Marie Claire, Armel, Elsie and Peggy. He has a very loving extended family not only in the United States but also in Haiti.

A visitation will be held on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM & 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM at the Donaldson Funeral Home, P.A., 313 Talbott Avenue, Laurel, MD.  A funeral service will be held the following day, Thursday, October 17, 2019 at the funeral home beginning at 12:30 PM. Graveside Services will be held immediately after the funeral service at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville MD.


In addition to flowers, please consider donating in Lionel’s Honor to Cancer Research


Donations may be made to:

LUNGevity Foundation
228 S. Wabash Avenue, Suite 700, Chicago IL 60604 IL 60604
Tel: 1-312-407-6100

© 2019 Donaldson Funeral Home, P. A. (Laurel). All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS