For a list of links to obits, see Sarah Weinman's "Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind."
I started reading Francis very late -- having rejected his books as being just about horse racing and of no more interest to me than other sportstype mysteries. I was so wrong! Francis has the most extraordinary protagonists who go through hell to do the right thing. For my novel, ISLAND OF EXILES, I'm indebted to Dick Francis who taught me a lot about characters and plots.