Francis L. Kinnich

Francis L. KinnichFrancis L. Kinnich of Ridgecrest died Aug. 22, 2020. He was 82.

He was born April 22, 1938, in Riverside. He lived in Washington and Wisconsin and Ridgecrest briefly from 1961-62 before moving here permanently in 1972.

He was drafted and served 14 months in the U.S. Army as an Automotive Mechanic, in his younger years. Fran’s major claim to fame was his design of the Boeing 747 door. He came to China Lake, at the time called NWC, in 1972 with a 7-year-old daughter in tow. He retired from China Lake in 2000, after 20 years of government service, at age 62.

At 29 years old, began raising his 2-year-old daughter, Victoria, on his own. And what a great father he was. He raised her to believe she could do and be anything. He was very proud of the successful woman she became when he passed.

He never actually finished with a high school diploma, but proved that he could succeed in engineering and program management fields. Anyone who knew him knew that he fully supported 2nd Amendment rights. He even owned a patent.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 33 years, Claire Ann Kinnich, who died in 2013.

He is survived by his daughter, Victoria (Torie) Butler of Mechanicsville, Md.; grandson, Bnjamin Lilly of California; granddaughter, Colleen Hayden of Clements, Md.; great-granddaughters, Mae-Pearl Lilly and Rowan Lilly; cherished Aunt Elizabeth (Betty) Kinnich (98 years old) of La Jolla; sister, Betzie Kinnichof Albuquerque, N.M.

There will be a public viewing at Holland & Lyons Chapel on Sept. 2from 4-7 p.m. Francis will be buried with his wife in a semi-private burial in Riverside the following day.

— Submitted by the family of Francis Kinnich

Story First Published: 2020-08-28