Times West Virginian
Seseen Francis passed away on Wednesday (Jan. 8, 2014), after a long battle with cancer.
He was born on Feb. 14, 1937, in Mannington, son of the late Tofake and Mahiba Abougshan Francis.
He is survived by his wife, Tina Peterman of Fairmont; two daughters, Shawna Gerau Santee and husband Rick of Fairmont, and Lori and Matt Peterson of Coraopolis, Pa.; and six grandchildren, Lex Gerau, Ethan, Jack and Finn Santee, and Piper and Pheona Peterson. He is also survived by one brother and two sisters, Charlie Francis, Mary Ann Poshadel, both of Fairmont, and Josie and husband Dr. Faruk Anwar of Moundsville. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Seseen graduated from West Virginia University in 1959 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He worked as an engineer for Monongahela Power Co., first in Pittsfield, Mass., and then in Parkersburg until 1972.
Until recently he was the publisher of Three Cities magazine, a travel and entertainment guide to Fairmont, Clarksburg and Morgantown as well as five similar magazines throughout the state, southwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Kentucky. He was a well-known local composer, playwright and lyricist, having written “Pricketts Fort: An American Frontier Musical” which ran for 16 summers at Pricketts Fort State Park.
He received the West Virginia Heritage Festival playwright award for “An American Dream” in 1995. He authored three additional musicals, writing the music, book and lyrics to “When a Bell Rings,” a 1976 summer production at Mont Chateau; “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” which was produced at both the Towngate Theatre of Oglebay Institute in Wheeling in 1983 and again in 1993 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. He received the City of Fairmont’s first Arts and Humanities Award in 1983. In 2004, his name appeared on the First Literary Map of West Virginia, a project that celebrated the work of West Virginia authors, poets and playwrights. In 2005, the Monongalia County Celebration of America committee presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award for “outstanding work advancing the cause of the performing arts in Monongalia County and the State of West Virginia.”
Most recently he published his first novel, “Sam Huff and the Gunner” the story about two Marion County boys who played professional football and were inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. He lovingly labored on the book for nearly 10 years. He was in the process of writing “Civil War Home,” a musical about Job Prickett’s life, the man for whom Pricketts Fort State Park is named.
An avid Notre Dame fan, Seseen attended every home game in South Bend for the last 35 years.
He was a member of St. Peter the Fisherman Parish. In his early years, he often sang folk Masses as well as performed at numerous weddings.
Friends may call at Ross Funeral Home. 801 Fairmont Ave., Fairmont, today from 4 to 9 p.m. and Friday from 1 to 9 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, at 11 a.m., at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church with Fr. Robert A. Perriello as Celebrant. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery.
A vigil service conducted by Deacon David Lester will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at the funeral home.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.rossfh.com.