Francis was born October 9, 1928, in Madrid, Nebraska, to Rue and Della (Costin) Lee. He attended school in Madrid prior to Curtis Agricultural College. On January 21, 1950, Francis married Roberta Rohrbacker, and their union was blessed with eight children. The couple made their home and farmed and ranched in the Madrid area, where they raised with family. In 1996, the couple moved to Grant.