Francis Joseph Le Mire, a retired Towson University dean who was a well-known campus figure, died of vascular dementia complications July 16 at the Edenwald Retirement Community in Towson. He was 88.
Born in Newaygo, Michigan, he was the son of Romeo Le Mire and Elizabeth Peacock Le Mire, who owned and operated a pharmacy. He enjoyed sports and games as a child and retained a playfully competitive spirit throughout his life.
After graduating from Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids in 1949, he earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and belonged to the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He was Intramural Athlete of the Year. He also had a master’s degree from Michigan. and studied counseling and guidance.
While on a blind date at Michigan, he met his future wife, Connie Rudich.
He later studied at the Catholic University of America, Michigan State University and Western Michigan University.
Mr. Le Mire served in the Army from 1952 to 1954 and was stationed in Germany. While overseas he developed an interest in travel.
He taught physical education and science at Redford Union Schools in Michigan from 1957 to 1960 and became an assistant dean of men at Western Michigan University.
He moved to Maryland in 1963 to join the faculty at Towson University and served as an assistant dean.
“He soon picked up the name of Dean Le Mire,” said his son, Michael Le Mire of Cambridge. “He went on to do things at Towson, and the name stuck. He became well known on the campus. He once started an assembly by firing a starter’s pistol to get everyone’s attention. He was an early riser and had an 8 a.m. racquetball and handball course.”
He later became director of Towson’s Career Placement Center and retired in 1993 after 30 years at the school.
“Under Fran’s leadership, the Career Placement Center became a resource to 3,000 employers and several thousand students,” said his granddaughter, Katherine “Katie” Rees.
Mr. Le Mire also organized and chaired the Metropolitan Baltimore College Job Fair from 1978 to 1993.
“He was known for his corny humor, and he always had a cigar sitting in the side of his mouth,” said his son. “He liked to work and was a sports referee and umpire. For years he was umpire at a softball summer restaurant league at Loch Raven Senior High School. The teams were sponsored by the old Baltimore County restaurants like Pecora’s and the Golden Arm.”
During his retirement years Mr. Le Mire dedicated himself to his church and his community and volunteered at Our Daily Bread, where he worked for 25 years.
He also volunteered at the Baltimore County Youth Commission, the GBMC Spiritual Support Services and at the Edenwald Retirement Community, where he moved in 2011.
The Morning Sun Newsletter
Get your morning news in your e-mail inbox. Get all the top news and sports from the baltimoresun.com.
“Fran radiated positivity, always smiling and perpetually cracking jokes,” said his granddaughter. “He smiled widest when he was at the dining room table with a deck of cards or in the backyard with croquet mallets in hand. And Fran would win every game. He would always win.”
She also said, “He taught his family just how good a bad joke could be, how important education is, how beautiful it is to travel around the world and most importantly, how to not take anything in life for granted.”
She said that almost every day for 30 years Mr. Le Mire spent lunch hour playing pickup basketball in the gym with students and handball at Towson Center with a diehard handball crew. He once quarterbacked for one of the student teams during Towson State College’s Santa Claus Anonymous Marathon flag football games.
In addition to his son and granddaughter, survivors include his wife of 63 years, Connie Le Mire; a daughter, Andrea O’Connor of Cockeysville; and six other grandchildren. A daughter, Laura Le Mire, died in 2017.