Cover photo for Shelly  L. Francis's Obituary
Shelly  L. Francis Profile Photo
1962 Shelly 2021

Shelly L. Francis

June 26, 1962 — November 2, 2021

Shelly L. Francis, 59 of Livingston, Montana, passed away Tuesday, November 2, 2021, with the love of family and her daughter by her side during her last moments. Shelly was born in White Sulphur Springs on June 26, 1962, the daughter of Duane and Ruth (Hyatt) Neal. The family later relocated to Paradise Valley, buying a ranch themselves, running cattle, dancing, playing cards and board games. The family later purchased Black Otter Guide Service in 1968, which the whole family assisted where they could with the family business. The business is still owned and operated in a very similar manner with some change over the years. Shelly took to assisting her dad being the camp cook; he always stated, until he passed, "the best hired hands he could ever find and want were his girls", even though it was any and every able family member that could work he'd put them to work. The camp cook (which is a lot more than just cooking and not as easy as it sounds). Often found preparing meals and baked goods in a kitchen of some sort or another. Shelly attended Mill Creek Flats for her elementary education, being taught by Mrs. Hyatt (her grandma during out of school hours), then graduated in 1980 from Park County High School in Livingston. After her graduation, she moved to Billings while she attended a Vocational Technical Culinary School. She worked on a crab boat in Alaska, cooking for the crews and becoming the ship's barber, an ability she passed on to her daughter. During her young adult years, she had also earned a pilot's license while flying with her dad. She would later operate the Livery Stable in Emigrant from the early 1990's until the early 2000's. She loved the Livery Stable and its traditional atmosphere which was her dream job come true. She was an amazing cook and worked hard to make it work the best she knew how. In 1996, Shelly married Gary Francis, and was blessed with a daughter, Bailey, the following year. Shelly and Gary would separate a couple of decades later, and even though there were issues, they still cared for each other. Lately you would find Shelly working the Deli at Town and Country in Livingston, where she worked since 2016. Shelly had struggles throughout most of her life, however her heart of gold was hard to ignore as she meant well and loved so many very deeply and cared for anyone however she could. She loved her animals, plants, and her daughter, which she spoke highly of, and was proud of her no matter how their relationship was at the time. Shelly will be missed by many in our county, a good friend and neighbor, but freed of her many struggles thru life and was peaceful in her last moments, knowing she was loved on earth, to finally lay peacefully to rest. Shelly is survived by her daughter, Bailey Francis (Matt Jewett); her mother, Ruth Neal; sisters, Sonya Christiansen and Shawna (Alvin) Pierce; nephews and niece, Luke Christiansen, and Mariah and Marshall Pierce; as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins, including many other relatives and friends; a reunited high school friend and a later special friend, Jim Brown, and especially her childhood as well as adult best friend, Val (Scott) Lemon. Shelly was preceded in death by her niece, Lea Christiansen; her dad, Duane Neal; and special grandma, Elsie Hyatt. A funeral service in honor of Shelly will be held on Thursday, November 18, at 10:30 A.M., at the Paradise Valley Community Church. Burial will follow at Shorthill Cemetery, followed by a luncheon held back at the church.
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