Services To Be Held Soon for Dr. Francis Jean, Founder and President of IRIS The Visual Group

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LAVAL, Quebec—Dr. Francis Jean, 56, founder and president of Canada’s IRIS The Visual Group, passed away suddenly last week. Dr. Jean passed away in Jasper, Alberta, while cycling in the IRIS Challenge, a charity ride to raise money for cancer research. Funeral arrangements are being made in his hometown of Baie-Comeau, Quebec and will be announced soon.
 
Jean is survived by his family: wife Denise; son Jonathan; son Guillaume; daughter Marilanie; mother Laurette Savard; father Roland Jean; and brother Remi Jean.
 
“IRIS The Visual Group is deeply saddened to announce the sudden and tragic passing of our founder, president, and visionary leader,” the company said in a statement. “Francis Jean was an exceptional leader; with a big heart and an
unwavering passion for life and for helping others, he built IRIS The Visual Group based on the core values of passion, honesty and respect.
 
“From his first optometry practice in his hometown of Baie-Comeau, Quebec in 1986, he lead IRIS to become the most important, branded group of optometrists, opticians, and ophthalmologists in Canada. As an effective mentor, he developed talented leadership throughout the organization to ensure his legacy would continue.”
 
IRIS noted, “Throughout his career Dr. Jean worked tirelessly to improve the standards of vision care in Canada. As a business leader he created a culture at IRIS that was constantly improving the delivery of products and services to customers. As a leader in optometry, he collaborated with professional associations, colleges, and co-founded the Canadian Coalition of EyeCare Professionals (CCE-Pro). His goal always being to elevate the perceived value of eyecare and the eyecare industry in society.”
 
“Losing our visionary leader so suddenly has been shocking news,” said Dr. Daryan Angle, IRIS executive vice president. “He was greatly loved. We can only take some solace in that he passed away suddenly while doing something he loved for someone he loved—cycling to find a cure for cancer in honour of his brother Remi”.
 
Counselling services have been provided to all IRIS employees in this difficult time, the company said.
 
Also, the company noted, “IRIS will continue operating under the strong and experienced leadership of its eight vice presidents.”
 
After the company’s start, Jean then founded a buying group, engaging several like-minded optometrists that adopted the IRIS trademark in 1990. IRIS acquired the largest optical retailer in Western Canada, Fort Optical, in 2000. This move nearly doubled the size of the IRIS network and initiated exciting changes for optometrists in the West. IRIS introduced the concept of collaborative eyecare, bringing the three O’s together under one brand. Over the last 25 years, IRIS the Visual Group has become the largest network of eyecare professionals in Canada.
 
Dr. Jean told the story and shared the philosophy of the group during the 2013 Vision Monday Global Leadership Summit.