Cover photo for Lloyd C. France, M.D.'s Obituary
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1927 Lloyd 2016

Lloyd C. France, M.D.

September 20, 1927 — November 19, 2016

Lloyd C. France, M.D. 89, of Plymouth, IN, passed away Saturday evening, November 19, 2016 in the Center for Hospice Care, Elkhart, Indiana.

He was born on September 20, 1927 in Byron Center, Michigan to Paul J. and Dora H. (Hickox) France.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 65 years, Mary Ann (Peterson) France whom he wed in Winter Park, FL on December 28, 1951; his two daughters, Michelle (Mike) Lyman of Osceola and Lisa France of Plymouth and four sisters; Ilah (Joe) Terpstra, Lorna (Nelson) Miller, Wilma (Len) Mulder, Doris (Jay) Biesbrock and sister-in-law, Marie (Merle) France. He was preceded in death by a brother, Merle, and by his parents.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, November 23rd from 4 – 7 p.m. in the Johnson-Danielson Funeral Home, 1100 N. Michigan St., Plymouth. Services will be held at the funeral home on Friday, November 25th at 11 a.m. with Pastor Toni Carmer officiating.

A family burial service with Military Honors will take place on Saturday, November 26th in the Winchester Cemetery at Byron Center, Michigan.

Memorial gifts may be made to the First United Methodist Church 400 N. Michigan St., Plymouth, IN 46563.

The following is a glimpse of the storied life of Dr. Lloyd C. France…

Lloyd was born in 1927 in Byron Center, Michigan, the 5th of the 6 children of Paul and Dora France. His early formative years were spent during The Great Depression. During grade school and early high school, he enjoyed making and flying numerous model airplanes. When he reached High School, he was active in extra¬curricular activities and was promoted to the Varsity basketball team in his Sophomore year. He served as Class Treasurer, Sports Editor of the School Paper and Yearbook, Chief of Police, Vice President and President of Hi-Yi, Student Council, Chorus, and Class Play Cast years 3 and 4, among other activities. He was carrier for the Grand Rapids Press with about100 customers and worked at many various other jobs such as at the family business in nearby Grand Rapids, on farms, etc, for his clothing, entertainment, and general expense money. Music was an important part of his life and he won some competitions in voice, and sang solos and led the choir at the Methodist Episcopal Church of which he was a member. He greatly enjoyed water sports such as longer distance swimming, aquaplaning, skin diving and later, water skiing. He joined his friends for weekly trips to the roller skating Coliseum in Grand Rapids, and in the summer to the open air rinks at Green Lake and Reeds Lake, where it was cooler. Lloyd enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 upon graduating from Byron Center High School in 1945, since The Second World War was expected to continue for some time. After completing an intensive Electronics School at Gulfport, Mississippi and The Naval Research Laboratory at Washington, D.C., he was rated as Electronics Technician’s Mate 2 [ETM2], November 1946. Because he had finished first in a beginning class of 160+, he was assigned as an Instructor in the newly consolidated electronics school being established at The Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois until his discharge December 6, 1947. While a senior in high school he had met Mary Ann, who was an 8th grader then and a friend of his sister, and they began dating near the end of the time he was at Great Lakes.

In the next 2 ½ years he completed an Associates Degree in Science with a straight A average at Grand Rapids Junior College, and Bachelor of Arts Degree with Distinction at The University of Michigan. He was accepted at the University of Michigan Medical School in 1950 and was awarded permanent membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society during his Junior and Senior years. He and Mary Ann were married December, 1951, in Winter Park, Florida, where her parents had retired. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree with Distinction, in 1954, and then interned at St. Mary’s Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan until 1955. He had supported himself throughout his Pre-Medical and Medical Training with summer and vacation jobs and moonlighting weekends. The summers following his second and third years, he gained extra medical experience while externing at Beyer Memorial Hospital in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Mary Ann completed her degree in special education in June, 1953, and taught at Plymouth, Michigan during his Senior year. He became a General Practitioner in Middleville, Michigan, and while there, their first child, Michelle was born. Another high point while there was setting a new record in West Central Michigan by delivering a 2 pound, 1ounce premature infant who survived, thanks to the new tube feeding he introduced. Forty years later the mother was visiting another daughter here in Plymouth, Indiana and by chance noted the name on Lloyd’s office, and stopped in. He learned that the “preemie” was now a healthy mother with children of her own, who lived in Florida. In the spring of 1956 he decided to specialize in surgery, and began the required additional 4 year Residency in General and Vascular Surgery, and added on additional training in Orthopedic Surgery, at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, completing it in 1960. While there he participated as an assistant surgeon in the first Aortic Aneurysm replacement operation televised live throughout the state of Michigan. He continued his interest in electronics which led him into constructing some of the early truly high fidelity audio equipment, and came to learn and greatly enjoy classical music, partly because of its greater dynamic range and variety.

Mary Ann and he had admired Plymouth earlier while passing through, and visited Plymouth after seeing an advertisement for their need of a surgeon. They found the people warm and friendly and received a warm reception by the surgeon and other physicians. They decided that Plymouth was a “cut above” other places they had visited and known. After living in large cities such as Washington, D. C. and Detroit as well as just outside of Chicago, they decided to try returning to life in a smaller community. He transferred his Methodist membership to the First Methodist Church upon moving to Plymouth, Indiana in 1960. He then practiced General Surgery in association with fellow practitioner Dr. James Rimel for a total of 41 years. He served many years as Chief of Surgery and several years as President of the Medical Staff of the Hospital. He was an active member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in his earlier years, and subsequently a long time member of the Chamber of Commerce. He served many years on the Board of Directors of The Lakeland Civic Music Association and of the Plymouth Industrial Development Commission [PIDCO]. He was, at various times Drive Chairman, President, and for years a Member of the Board of Directors of the Plymouth United Way. Their second child, Lisa, was born during their second year in Plymouth.

An early high point of his practice in Plymouth, shortly after arriving, was performing the first successful operation in North Central Indiana for ruptured aortic aneurysm removal with graft replacement. He also introduced new techniques of fine suture repair of severed small nerves, blood vessels and tendons in the hand and arm, and surgical treatment of the newly recognized but now very familiar carpal tunnel syndrome. He inserted the first “permanent” cardiac pacemakers in Marshall County by opening the chest and suturing directly into the heart. He had at least 2 cases of successful cardiac resuscitation after cardiac arrest. He introduced endoscopic procedures such as gastroscopy and colonoscopy to Plymouth. He was able before retiring to see the introduction of and to enjoy performing many laparoscopic operations such as removal of the gall bladder, with the result of much less discomfort and a faster recovery for the patient.

Leisure family activities while living in Plymouth have included traveling around the U.S.A., especially to the scenic wonders of the western states. On one of these trips, they traveled the entire length of the famous Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. Later there were many Colorado 4-wheeling trips to the abandoned old mining ghost towns in the high reaches of the Rocky Mountains along old forgotten trails, and another to the old timber trails in Oregon and Washington states. There were many weekend jaunts to the Michigan sand dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan and at other times vacations were spent along those shores.

Lloyd retired in 1998, and continues to enjoy his longtime love of classical and old Big Band music, electronics, and lighter activities about the yard and farm. Upon retirement he decided to learn about the electronic, technical and operational features of computers and also began to study the piano, which had been a long time desire since taking a few lessons during early high school. He also subsequently began his genealogy research and was surprised to find a plethora of information about his ancestors, both published and also available on the internet, and prepared an extensive genealogy report for his family. He has enjoyed transferring Big Band music from his old 78rpm and LP mono and stereo records to CDs to avoid frequent trips to change records. He resumed his interest in a photo lab of his earlier years, but now using, instead of film and chemicals, digital photography and the computer as his “photo lab” to refine and print photographs.

Lloyd was ever seeking to learn and grow, he gave a calm and strong support to all who knew him, always gracious and kind, a bright beacon of excellence, wisdom and stability. He set a great example for us all and will be greatly missed by many.
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