Sarah A. Francois

Sarah A. Francois, age 45, of Dubuque, IA, was unexpectedly called home to the Lord on June 30, 2022, at Mercy Hospital in Dubuque, while surrounded by her loving family.  To honor Sarah, a Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, July 11, 2022, at 10:30 a.m., in the Marble Chapel at Emmaus Bible College, 2570 Asbury Road in Dubuque, with Pastor Keith Leverentz officiating.  Family and friends are invited to visit in fellowship from 1:00 until 6:00 p.m., on Sunday, July 10, 2022, in the Marble Chapel at Emmaus. In place of dark attire, the family encourages people attending to wear clothing of color to represent Sarah’s bright spirit. The Tri-State Cremation Center is serving Sarah’s family.


Sarah was born on February 2, 1977, in Dubuque, IA, the second of four daughters to Victor “Gus” and Ann (Stronck) Helling.  She attended St. Anthony’s Elementary School and Wahlert High School where she competed on the Swim Team and graduated class of 1995.  The family cherishes childhood memories of summers boating and camping on the Mississippi River, where she fondly earned the nickname “Sandrat Sarah”.  The kind and gentle heart she exhibited as a child grew into a loving and grace-filled spirit as she became a young woman.


After high school, she decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and has been the bright smile behind the counter at Artistic Cleaners for over 25 years. 


On April 30, 1999, Sarah married the love of her life, Jason Francois, and the couple has been blessed with over 25 wonderful years together and five beautiful children. Jason and Sarah shared the love of country music, even naming two of their children after their favorite artists. They enjoyed going to movies, and concerts, and being with friends and family. Making and following traditions were a priority. They raised their family in a loving, hard-working, faith-focused home, filled with noise and laughter.


Her family was the center of her world, and she was always up for fun adventures with them. Together they enjoyed camping, vacationing, visiting amusement parks, and cheering on their beloved St. Louis Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes. Sarah excelled in entertaining their large extended family and would prepare a colossal spread of homemade food, appetizers, and baked goods. Gatherings would include activities such as bean bag tournaments and countless competitive board games. Jason and Sarah’s house has always been known as the place the kids want to be. They adored hosting all the cousins for sleepovers that would sometimes last for a few days. Sarah would often be the last to go home from an event, as she had mastered the “Midwest Goodbye”. And what we’d give for just one more. She will be remembered for her beautiful smile, contagious laugh, and zest for life.


It’s beyond difficult to imagine a world without her joyful presence on this earth. Our hearts are breaking but we believe in the Lord’s plan and know she is safe in His arms. In Sarah’s pure, giving nature, it is little wonder that her final gifts were through organ donation.


Those left behind to cherish the memory of Sarah include,


her loving husband of 23 years,

Jason Francois, Dubuque, IA;


her five deeply adored children,

Collin (24), Victoria (22), Johnny (18), Adrian (11), and Timmy (10) Francois;


her father,

Victor “Gus” Helling, Dubuque, IA;


her sisters,

Amy (Robert) Belken, Eldridge, IA,

Kristin (Matt) Walker, Dubuque, IA,

Kim (Matt) Lane, Des Moines, IA;


her father-in-law,

Thomas Francois, East Dubuque, IL;


her brothers and sisters-in-law,

Curt (Karen) Francois, of Lawton, OK,

Julie (John) Eisel, Dubuque, IA,

Rick (Megan) Francois, McHenry, IL,

Bob (Carol) Francois, Macomb, IL,

Sarah Bahl, Dubuque, IA,

Andy (Amy) Francois, Dubuque, IA,

Keith Francois, Lawton, OK,

Peter (Christi) Francois, Clinton, IA,

and Russell (Audrey) Francois, Dyersville, IA;


and 36 nieces and nephews.


Sarah was preceded in death by her mother, Ann Helling; her mother-in-law, Patricia Francois; and her brother-in-law, Gar Mabe.


Sarah’s family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff at Mercy Hospital, along with the medical professionals who assisted Sarah initially, without hesitation. To the dear family and friends who have given more love and support than we could hope for, we cannot thank you all enough, and may the Lord bless every one of you for your generosity, compassion, and prayers.


In lieu of flowers, a Sarah A. Francois Memorial Fund has been established.


Online condolences may be shared with Sarah’s family at










The Marble Chapel at Emmaus Bible College
2570 Asbury Road, Dubuque, Iowa, 52001
July 10th, 2022 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Memorial Service

The Marble Chapel at Emmaus Bible College
2570 Asbury Road, Dubuque, Iowa, 52001
July 11th, 2022 at 10:30 AM

6 comments on “Sarah A. Francois
  1. Kim Leifker says:

    Thinking of your family in this time of sorrow.Sarah and I had a lot of laughs and worked hard side by side for many years..She was very dedicated to her work and family..She will be missed..

  2. Russell West says:

    I work with Colin in the engineering office at John Deere. I have enjoyed the few conversations we have been able to share of late, and can see the source of his amiable, cordial ways after reading his mother’s obituary. What a beautiful life your mom shared with the world Colin!
    I felt the spirit as I read the beautiful words written by those tasked with fitting a lifetime of love and happiness, tender service and camaraderie into a few short paragraphs.
    I do not know what kind of kitchens they have in heaven, but I get the feeling she is baking cookies or cake for somebody who needs it with a big smile on her face right now. I am so glad to have learned about the amazing life she led, and thank you so much for taking the time to share it.

  3. Jodi says:

    I remember Sarah from coming into Artistic Cleaners. She was the nicest lady. Also friendly and smiling. She made you feel like she was your best friend. Thinking of your family and keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Chris and Kristine Newkirk says:

    Our thoughts and prayer are with your family. Our loving Father has His arms around beautiful Sarah.

  5. Jill Wolter says:

    Sarah’s beautiful smile was the best. Our hearts go out to your family. May she rest in Paradise with her loving mother.
    Jill & Tim

  6. Nicholas Frommelt says:

    Helling and Francois Families,
    I cannot begin to tall you all how very heart broken we are to hear of the passing of Sarah. I will always remember her as a complete joy and energy in the room. Always met you with a smile and a joyful greeting. We are truly saddened by her passing and want all of you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Gus, Jason, and Amy – We are passing along big hugs from Naperville, IL to you all. Sorry we could not be there in person, but please know we are all by your side. God Bless you all during this difficult time!
    Nicholas Frommelt and Family

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