WILLARD CARL FRANKS, was born on July 29, 1915 in Ford County, near Sibley, Illinois, to Charles and Ida (Witt) Franks. The family lived near Sibley until 1919 when the family loaded all of their possessions on an emigrant train and moved to a farm in Fairview Township, seven and a half miles north of Alexandria, South Dakota. Willard graduated from Country School in 1929and from Fulton High School in 1933. Due to severe drought, at the age of 21 Willard moved to Jackson County, Minnesota, where he worked as a farm hand for Jim Storing and E.M. Ullrich from the fall of 1936 to the fall of 1942. In the fall of 1942 Willard was inducted into the United States Army, where he was a member of the 81st General Hospital, both in the United States and in the European Theater Operation. Willard was united in marriage to Arlene L. Struck on December 25, 1945 at the Salem Lutheran Parish House. After Willard was discharged from the Army in 1946 Willard and Arlene made there home in Middletown Township, where Willard worked as a hired hand for John Hasbargen until the spring of 1948 when Willard and Arlene moved to Arlenes childhood home in Wisconsin Township where he and Arlene lived until her passing on March 28, 1993. After Arlene’s passing Willard continued to make his home there until April of 2007 when he moved into Colonial Manor Nursing Home in Lakefield. Willard passed away at the Sanford Hospital in Jackson on Monday November 3, 2008 at the age of 93 years three months and five days.
Willard was a member of Salem Lutheran Church in Jackson where he was a member of the church council. Willard served on the Alpha School Board, the Jackson County ASCF, the Jackson County ARC Board and he also served as treasurer of Wisconsin Township. Willard was also a member of the Jackson American Legion and VFW Posts.
Willard is survived by his six children; Richard Franks of Montevideo, Minnesota; Larye Franks of Alpha, Minnesota; Kent Franks and his significant other Sandy Cregeen of Jackson, Minnesota; David (Debra) Franks of Lakefield, Minnesota; Gary Franks and his friend Lynette Ellman of Welcome, Minnesota; and Carol Franks of Alpha, Minnesota. Also surviving are his three grandchildren; Dana (Matthew) Becker of Welcome, Minnesota; Jennifer (Tyler) Beckel of Jackson, Minnesota; and Matthew (Vickie) Franks of Worthington, Minnesota; and five great-grandchildren. Willard is also survived by his sisters Wilma Roberts of Spirit Lake, Iowa; Ruth (Bud) Benson of Mitchell, South Dakota; Mary Ann (George) O’Neill of Fulton, South Dakota; and his sister in law Audrey Franks of Mitchell, South Dakota.
Willard was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 47 years Arlene; his two brothers Harold and Orville Franks, and his sister Erma Swenson.
Funeral services will be held on Friday November 7, 2008 at 10:30am at The Salem Lutheran Church in Jackson with Pastor Eric Hullstrom officiating. Burial will take place at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Petersburg Township, Jackson County, immediately following the service with full military honors.
A visitation will be held on Thursday November 6, 2008 from 5-7pm at the Osterberg Funeral Home in Jackson, and one hour prior to the services at the church.
Blessed Be the Memory of Willard Carl Franks.