Francis Yestramski of Greenfield, MA passed away peacefully on May 10, 2023, at the age of 76, surrounded by loved ones.
He is survived by his wife JoAnne Yestramski and two brothers Thomas and wife Deborah Yestramski, Michael and wife Rose Yestramski and sister Kathleen Daysch as well as three daughters Kimberly and husband David Balch, Christina and husband Scott Graves, and Karen and husband Emanuel Provost. He has left behind 8 grandchildren: Dominic, Olivia, Sydney, Jovi, Madeleine, Ravin, Violet, Evirleigh, Emanuel Jr and 6 great grandchildren.
Francis joined the Marine Corps at the young age of 17, not out of childish impulse, but because he felt a calling and duty to serve and that is just what he did for the next 59 years of his life. He carried the value of brotherhood within his core and embraced his will to serve, entering the military in 1964 and remaining on active duty for four years while serving in the Vietnam War. He was honored with the National Defense Service Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Good conduct medal.
After his dedicated service to our country, he then entered a long-term career at Verizon where he was a splice service technician for outside cable as well as repair and troubleshooting. He also held the position of union steward, which he took pride in. Francis retired in 2000 from Verizon and was ready to embark on his retirement journey, however he knew his service to our country and his fellow brothers had not retired with him. He was dedicated to veteran’s well being and continued to serve his community by both volunteering and working in the DAV for 20 years, where he helped and advocated for veterans to obtain the benefits and services they so willingly deserved.
Francis had a passion for the outdoors. Often spending any free time fishing, hunting, and hiking all while capturing these beautiful encounters through the lens of his camera. He had hundreds of images of the outdoors, something that he had found peace and solitude in. As his eyes and knees started to wear on him, he did not let that stop him from cherishing the sounds of nature and would open the windows every morning to hear the birds and smell the fragrant air from the flowers that filled his yard.
Francis was humorous and humble, and carried a deep sense of humility within him. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in the military, often dealing with the crippling effects of this disorder. He still did not waiver, instead he opened his home and heart to his fellow service members and offered them a safe, supportive space to share their experiences of fighting and serving in the military. He found a way through to the other side of this disorder, and he desperately wanted everyone to find this peace as well. He always offered the same piece of advice to each person he encountered, “just embrace it.” That is what Francis leaves behind for his legacy. A reminder to his fellow active and retired service members, anyone struggling with PTSD from military duties, and anyone looking for a way out, “just embrace it.” Embrace the struggle and the mess and befriend the bad thoughts. Find solitude and power in helping one another.
Francis will be remembered for this as a friend, a father, a grandfather, a husband, a brother, and a pillar of the veteran community in Western Massachusetts. Francis will be honored with the “Veteran of the Year” award at the Veterans Affairs of Central Western Massachusetts.
Thank you to both of his best friends Charlie Kosterman and Tom Salter for always being by his side. Thank you to the Guardian Angel Cleaning Services and visiting nurses for always making him feel comfortable in his home. Thank you to the doctors and nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center and our local firefighters and ambulance services.
A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held at Blessed Trinity Parish/Blessed Sacrament Church 221 Federal St. Greenfield on Monday June 12, 2023, at 10 AM. Burial will take place at 3 PM at Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Veteran Affairs of Central Western Massachusetts.
Checks can be made to:
VACWM Veterans Affairs of Central Western Massachusetts
421 North Main Street
Leeds, MA 01053
Arrangements are under the direction of Kostanski Funeral Home. For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com
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