John F. Franklin Sr., 88, of Granger, formally of Elgin, passed away Tuesday afternoon, March 17, 2020, with his two daughters at his side. His wife of 66 years, Anna Belle passed away the end of February; her sincere wish not to be parted for long, was granted three short weeks later.
John was the son of Marvin and Lucy Franklin, born in Berryville, Virginia on December 24, 1931. He grew up on a dairy farm where, as a young teen, he began his days early, milking cows before walking to school. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1952, where he served honorably during the Korean Conflict. His two-year service as a medic instructor ended at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. While working at Handy Andy, he met the love of his life, Anna Belle Dybowski. On February 27, 1954, a short six months later, he became a true Texan by marrying Ann.
John moved with his family in tow to several Texas locales while employed with Goodyear Tire Company, working his way up to store manager in Kerrville. He left Goodyear in the early 1970’s moving to Austin as the tire manager for Montgomery Wards and eventually becoming a truck tire specialist for Walker Tire Company. His greatest enjoyment came from his time on their farm “Chapultepec” outside of Elgin, driving his old Ford 8N tractor, managing both cattle and wildlife. He especially loved feeding the Eastern Bluebirds each day.
John was an active volunteer in every community he called home. He joined the Lions Club shortly after moving to Kerrville, rising to rank of President, organizing and participating in many local charitable events, including taking disabled children on dove hunts, an event in which his son, John Jr. assisted. John actively served his churches, leading prayer groups, teaching religious education with Ann, and ultimately accepting the call to become a Deacon. He was ordained in June 1998, while living in Elgin. He ran the Elgin Soup Kitchen for many years and was awarded the Brick of the Community Award by the Greater Elgin Chamber of Commerce in 2004. His life was a reflection of his faith.
Next to his wife, his greatest love was his grandchildren. He and Ann enjoyed sharing all aspects of country life with the grandchildren including teaching them, at a young age, to drive “ole blue” the farm truck and the Ford tractor. Parkinson’s disease eventually ended his ability to love and care for the farm, so he and Ann packed up and moved to Granger a dozen years ago.
John is preceded in death by his wife, Anna Belle Franklin, his parents, his sister, Janie, and a son-in-law, David H. Fischer.
He is survived by his three children, daughter, Virginia A. Fischer of Georgetown, son, John F. Franklin Jr. and wife Charlotte of Uhland, and daughter, Valerie K. Franklin of Austin; his brother Al and wife Martha Franklin of So. Chesterfield, Virginia; his five grandchildren, Shane and wife Sarah Vrazel, Aaron Vrazel, Elizabeth Franklin, Theresa and husband Jason Pratt, Andrea and husband Donald Benson; his 4 great grandchildren, Aiden, Dakota, Charly, and Maekenzie and numerous extended family and dear friends. To all who knew him, his vast patience and sweet demeanor, never raising his voice, earned him angel wings long ago.
The family extends its grateful appreciation to Alice Griffith, who lovingly provided daily support in these final years. A word of heartfelt thanks goes to Deacon Larry Dunne who was John’s spiritual inspiration for many years. Memorials can be made in John’s name to your local food bank.
Deacon, John Frederick Franklin, Sr.’s body will lie in state at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Friday, March 20th from 2:00 PM until 8:00 PM. A private Christian Burial will be conducted at Holy Cross Catholic Church Cemetery of Yorktown, Monday, March 23rd with Deacon, Larry Dunne presiding. A Celebration of Christian Memorial Mass will be conducted at a later date. Arrangements and care are entrusted to Elgin Funeral Home.