George René Francis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, on 6 June 1896 (claimed 1897) to parents George Francis and Eliza Henderson. He left the school after sixth grade.
In 1918, he married Josephine Johnson. He was briefly a boxer in his youth.
In 1949, he moved to Sacramento, California in search of a job. During his life in Sacramento, he worked as a chauffeur, an automobile mechanic and a barber.
His wife died of cancer in 1964 at the age of 63. The couple was married for 46 years.
Francis died of congestive heart failure at a nursing home in Sacramento, California, on 27 December 2008, at the age of 112 years, 204 days. It was reported he was survived by four children, 19 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great grandchildren.