Francis “Lou” Gros Louis, a resident of Blue Ridge at Lansdowne Woods (formerly Leisure World) in Leesburg, Virginia, passed away on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, after a brief illness.
He retired in 2005 from HUD after serving for 35 years in multiple key positions, including Special Assistant to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, National Director of Disaster Recovery on the 557 federally recognized Indian Reservations, and Director of Loan Management and Property Disposition for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In his HUD career he received more than 30 Outstanding Performance Awards, many awards for Innovative Management Initiatives, HUD’s Distinguished Service Award, and was HUD’s Presidential Management Improvement Award nominee. He received the Federal Executive Association President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Community Service.
Prior to joining the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he spent 15 years as the Deputy Superintendent of the Abbott Textile Mills in Wilton, New Hampshire where he was elected to the Board of Selectmen and was a member of the Governor’s Crime Commission Task Force and the Governor’s Resources and Development Committee, in addition to being named an Interim State Senator for New Hampshire. He received the University of New Hampshire Award for outstanding service to youth and was recognized by the Sears Foundation with a Conservation Communication Award. He also served his Community as a Captain on Wilton’s Volunteer Fire Department and as a Deputy Forest Fire Warden for New Hampshire.
He received numerous awards for his volunteer efforts, patriotic speeches and published articles. He wrote a weekly column and editorials for his local and statewide newspapers. He received a White House Citation for saving the life of a young boy, two National Freedoms Foundation Awards for patriotic speeches, the Points of Life Award for originating “Operation Clothesline” that brought clothing donations to the people of the Oglala Sioux Indian Nation in South Dakota, and his family was named the New Hampshire All-American Family in 1970.
Moving to Lansdowne Woods in 2001 he participated in campus shows, gave the Keynote Address on many patriotic holidays, published a monthly newsletter, served two terms on the Blue Ridge Board of Directors and volunteered with the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, including an appointment to the Loudoun County Financial Performance Audit Committee. He and his wife surprised their neighbors in Blue Ridge by distributing Easter Eggs and Christmas stockings at every door for several years.
He received his education at Tilton School and Boston College, with additional credits earned at other educational institutions. In both 1972 and 2008 he received the prestigious George L. Plimpton Award, given to a Tilton School alumnus who has made outstanding contributions to society. He served (4) years with the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War working in the Intelligence Division of SAC Headquarters in the Office of General Curtis Lemay in Omaha, Nebraska. He was a proud enrolled member of the Huron-Wendat Indian Nation.
He was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island on October 6, 1930, son of Albert and Jeanette Gros Louis. He is pre-deceased by Shirley (Olson) Gros Louis, originally of Omaha, Nebraska, the love of his life for 64 years, and his brother, Dr. Kenneth Gros Louis of Bloomington, Indiana. Survivors include his daughters Cheryl (Veny) Galvez of Great Falls, Virginia and Melissa (Doug) Staley of Martinsburg, West Virginia, and his son Brian (Diane) Gros Louis of Boerne, Texas, along with brothers- and sister-in-law, Marvin and Robert Olson and Patricia Arndt, all of Omaha, Nebraska. He is also survived by his grandchildren and one great-grandchild: Victoria Galvez of Washington, DC, Victor Galvez of San Francisco, California; Benjamin Wimberly and son Wyatt, Michelle Hickerson, and Matthew and Samantha Staley of Martinsburg, West Virginia; John Gros Louis of Austin, Texas, and Keri and Kelianne Gros Louis and Karly (Nick) Champion of Boerne, Texas.
A service will be announced at a later date, to coincide with his interment at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in his memory to either: St. Labre Indian School at www.stlabre.org or IAFF Burn Foundation at www.foundation.iaff.org.