Funeral services honoring the life of Rev. Francis M. “Toy” Belsha will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, July 28, 2008 at East Leesville Baptist Church with Revs. Gil Arthur and Andrew Arthur officiating.

Burial will follow at Self Cemetery in Hornbeck, under the direction of Hixson Funeral Home of Leesville.

Visitation will be held from 4-10 p.m. today, July 27 at the Chapel of Hixson Funeral Home and from 9 a.m. until the time of service in the church.

Rev. Belsha, was a lifelong resident of the Vernon/ Sabine area. He had a relatively large family that he knew each member well, prayed for each one and loved with all his heart. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during WW II with an antiaircraft unit in Europe, in the later years of the war. During this time his beloved wife, Velda Vee Jeane Belsha, was at home and lost a child, Loretta Vee, just as he was leaving the war. He was gloriously saved and surrendered to the Gospel Ministry in 1952. He pastored churches in Vernon and Sabine Baptist for 50+ years. He was a retired Civil Service employee of Fort Polk. The earlier years of his life he worked in saw mills and logging industry throughout Vernon and Sabine Parishes. His passion was fox and rabbit hunting. Through the years he had many hunting buddies and dogs that were very special to him. Whatever he did, he did with a tender heart, humbleness and sincerity.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Velda Vee Jeane Belsha and one daughter, Loretta Vee; his parents, W.R. and Callie Belsha; granddaughters, Jonna and Jonnica Belsha and grandson, Luke Kylan Belsha; brothers, Henry, Homer and Lonzie Belsha and sisters Lela and Edna.

He is survived by his wife Ernestine Evans Belsha of Florien; one son and daughter-in-law, John and Tammy Reed Belsha of Leesville; daughters and son-in-law, Marjorie Stanley and husband Jim Huffman of Texas and Kathryn Arthur and husband Gil of Leesville; stepson, Jerry Thyler of Florien; stepdaughters, Janie Thyler, Julie Thyler Alvarez and JoAnn Thyler Bailey, all of Houston; one sister, Lily “Bill” Burch of Orange, Texas; eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

The family greatly appreciates the kindness expressed during this time.