Francis S. Guess

   November 12th, 2022             Blog

duGard Communications Presents

The Beat Won’t Stop: Gratitude Ceremony

Francis S. Guess

Nashville’s favorite connector.

You’re the other daughter, you know…the one NOT in the will!

Francis was “Uncle Francis” for years. Richard’s best friend and running buddy. When we moved back to Nashville, we went to a TSU game together and Mama and I sat in front of four 40-something men who carried their binoculars. Not to watch the game…but to specifically watch the Sophisticated Ladies perform. That was the LAST time my mother went to a game with them. 

Years later, after opening duGard and while building the brand presence and media footprint for The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), I learned that ‘Uncle Francis’ had actually owned a Public Relations/Public Affairs firm at one point in his career (later I’d find out that Laura Purswell, current HR Director at NMAAM, was his assistant during this time) and that his role, at what was then Seighthaler, was based on more than bravado. 

I learned so many pearls of knowledge from him like, ‘listen intently and talk less, you’ll learn where the bodies (projects/details/info) are buried’ and that it was always better to ‘beat ‘em up in the back room Perri, but be their friend and protect them in public.’ 

He was of and for the people well before anyone was ‘woke’ and he navigated board rooms like nobody else I knew. And he was the type of person that when he believed in you, you were part of his trusted tribe that gathered regularly, each Thursday at 5:08pm at one of a few watering holes…his crew was a cultivated “Brat Pack.”  One day the Brat Pack was summoned to meet at Gold Rush for drinks. A woman who was visiting asked me, “are you and Francis seeing each other?” I recoiled (mostly because Francis was literally like family) and told her, ‘oh no, he’s like my dirty old uncle’ within his earshot. I had to pay for my own drinks that day. 

After Francis passed, I had a long conversation with Richard, explaining that I was just so sad and lost in the fact that he was gone. As I tried to explain, my breath caught and Richard, in his intuitive way said, “He loved you Perri, he told me so many times even as recently as a few weeks ago, and he was proud of you.” 

Cheers to the years, Francis my friend.  Jack & Ginger up next!