Cover photo for Francis Combs's Obituary
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Francis Combs

April 3, 1940 — June 6, 2024

Francis Combs

Francis James Combs III, affectionately known as "Skeet," was born in 1940, in Doylestown, PA, and passed away on June 6, 2024, at the age of 84.

Predeceased by his beloved son, Keith Combs. Skeet is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Joyce Combs; his son Jeffrey Combs; granddaughters Clara and Charlotte Combs; daughter-in-law Elizabeth Combs; his brother John "Jack" Combs and sister-in-law Diane Combs; and his cousins Charles "Herb" Combs, Eileen Markey, Bernadette Schultz, Thomas Markey, and Anne Garefino. He also leaves behind many lifelong friends, including Richard and Reggie Toone, Craig Bowman, and Tom Glock.

After graduating from Pemberton High School in 1958, Skeet spent several years cruising and drag racing his '40 Ford Coupe and '56 Chevy in the Pine Barrens. In 1961, he joined the US Coast Guard and served on the USCGC Campbell until his honorable discharge in 1965 as a Petty Officer Third Class.

In 1965, Skeet began his career at RCA Astro as an aerospace technician at the dawn of the Space Race. His work focused on designing and building satellite systems, taking on multiple roles that required high levels of precision and innovation. By the time he retired in 1997, Skeet had developed a legendary reputation for his ability to turn ideas into reality, with many of his creations circling the globe today.

Skeet's passion for building and racing boats started at an early age. Growing up on the banks of the Delaware River, he and his friends built their first wooden speed boats from plans in Popular Mechanics. This hobby evolved into a lifelong passion for boat and outboard motor building.

In the late 1960s, Skeet began racing American Power Boat Association (APBA) stock outboards, primarily in the B Stock Runabout class. He was also one of the primary innovators of the 25SS class. Boat racing became a family sport, with both Jeff and Keith racing while Joyce supported race operations. The connections Skeet and the Combs family made through boat racing became true family and lifelong friends.

Skeet continued building boats and tuning competition outboards until the end of his life. Helping new racers and J drivers get their start brought him great personal satisfaction. The engines he built for others consistently landed in the winner's circle. Those fortunate enough to have one of his toy racing boats will cherish it as a reminder of his care and generosity.

A private ceremony for immediate family will be held at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Francis Combs, please visit our flower store.

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