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Samuel Francis, a syndicated columnist and author, died Tuesday night at a Washington-area hospital of complications following major heart surgery. He was 57.
Mr. Francis was an editorial writer for The Washington Times and served from 1987 to 1991 as the deputy editorial page editor. He remained a staff columnist through September 1995.
“He was a fine writer and a brilliant scholar, who had the courage of his convictions,” said Patrick Buchanan, who had both social and professional relationships with Mr. Francis. “He had a tremendous depth of knowledge and read as deeply as anyone I’ve known.”
Mary Lou Forbes, commentary editor of The Times, who worked closely with Mr. Francis during his tenure at the newspaper, said: “I remember Sam as a scholarly, challenging and sometimes pungent writer, who distinguished his craft with a remarkable appreciation of history and literature… . In person, his witty and sage observations of the passing scene brightened the atmosphere where he labored.”
A Tennessee native, Mr. Francis staunchly defended the South and its cultural heritage and proudly held memberships in both the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
“Sam Francis came from a long tradition of scholarly Southerners that is now often forgotten,” said Peter Brimelow, author of “Alien Nation,” whose VDARE.com Web site carried Mr. Francis’ columns. “Sam’s great value … was his unflinching disregard of contemporary taboos. He was always prepared to say the unsayable.”
Graveside services will be held Feb. 25 at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga. In addition to his sister, Julia Francis Irwin, survivors include a nephew, Michael Joseph Irwin Jr., and two great-nephews, Michael Joseph Irwin III and John Addison Irwin, all of Chattanooga.
(Posted on February 17, 2005)