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Cordova High grad remembered for heroism, community service

Mourners file into the funeral services Thursday for Carlos Diamond Francies.
Mourners file into the funeral services Thursday for Carlos Diamond Francies. Sacramento Bee

Carlos Diamond Francies received a full law enforcement tribute Thursday, his casket draped in an American flag as bagpipes played at Capital Christian Center, not far from where he grew up in Rancho Cordova.

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies stood tall, saluting the 30-year-old Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy who drowned Aug. 13 in Lake Tahoe while trying to rescue his friend.

About 2,000 people attended Francies’ memorial service, including more than 300 Contra Costa County deputies and about 300 law enforcement officers from other areas, including South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento.

“Diamond loved people, and he sacrificed his life just for that,” said Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriff Dante Guther.

Francies graduated from Cordova High School and played football for the school. He later played at Sacramento State for a year and two years at Humboldt State, as well as for the Stockton Lightning of the arenafootball2 league. He returned to Cordova to help work with young football players, according to former Cordova coach Max Miller.

Francies was known for his ability to tackle challenges and wouldn’t stop until he accomplished his goals, Guther said.

“Diamond didn’t fear failing at all,” Guther said. “If he wanted it, he went out and got it.”

“He never stopped dreaming,” said Bishop Bob Jackson. “He was dedicated, persistent and determined to be the best he could be.”

Francies enjoyed giving back to the community and would do so on his free time, said Ronald Northcross, a retired deputy with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

He was a graduate from and mentor in the OK Program, which brings together police and pastors with an aim to help develop leadership skills and reduce the incarceration and homicide rates of young African American males.

As a tribute, Northcross announced the OK Program’s establishment of the Carlos Diamond Francies Law Enforcement Scholarship, an award to assist young men in joining academy programs.

Francies was at the lake last week with his girlfriend, his sister, Kayla Richardson, and a friend, enjoying a day off from work with rented paddleboards and kayaks when Richardson fell into the lake.

The friend jumped in after Richardson and successfully rescued her about 50 yards away. But from a distance, Francies thought the friend was struggling since he was having trouble reaching his kayak while holding his paddle, according to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.

That prompted Francies to jump into the 15-foot-deep water, and he began to struggle. Francies’ girlfriend, a registered nurse, pulled him from the water and performed CPR until emergency personnel arrived. But Francies was pronounced dead at Barton Memorial Hospital.

Coy Francies, said his brother was wise and provided him with structure. He said that without his brother’s encouragement, he wouldn’t have been successful in school, attributing his three degrees to his brother.

“He taught me how to be a scholar,” Coy Francies said. “He taught me how to be a man.”

Francies accomplished his goals of helping people and lived a fulfilling life that shouldn’t be wept over but celebrated, Coy Francies said.

“I want you guys to remember Diamond as someone who lived life,” he said. “He lived a life of 100 men.”

Jennifer Crane: 916-321-1161, @Jenn_Crane

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