Francis Guess was the personification of a connector.
He connected the black community with the white community and the white community with the black community, and an array of different segments of our town depending on what he was working on. Francis brought people together. He was a great equalizer. He was a child born in the projects who went on to influence vast resources of charitable dollars through the Danner Foundation, The United Way, and The Community Foundation. When he was commissioner of general services, and thereafter, he advocated for everyone to have an equal opportunity to apply for state contracts. Francis served on the boards of more than 100 charitable organizations and civic organizations.
As a result of Francis’ work, our community is stronger and richer in so many ways. The Community Foundation is thanking Ed Kindall and Sharon Hurt in supporting this effort in Metro Council to name the “Connector Bridge” in memory of a great community leader and friend, Francis S. Guess.
Guess’s daughter Maria was presented with a full-size copy of the sign that names the bridge by Metro Nashville Government Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebling early on during the program at the inaugural Francis S. Guess Bridge to Equality Award Luncheon held at the Music City Center.
“Francis Guess was one of a kind — a southern-bred gentleman, a scholar particularly well-trained in military intelligence, and a man who never left unresolved an encounter with a person in need or a cause in need of a person to address it,” said Riebling.
“He connected strangers; he connected neighborhoods; he connected us. It is in that spirit that the 31st/28th Street Connector was recently renamed in Francis’ honor… And it is my sincere privilege to present his daughter, Maria, with a gift to commemorate that event: a copy of the sign which now hangs there.”