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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Roger Franks would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was never one to worry about building wealth or accumulating possessions, rather, his mission in life was to live fully in the moments he was given while holding his loved ones near. Roger was a loving husband, devoted brother, and fun-loving uncle who liked making sure that those around him enjoyed life as much as he did. He worked hard and was known for his work ethic, which extended far beyond his work with MDOT. Roger will be deeply missed by the family and friends he leaves behind.
The year 1945 is often remembered as the year that WWII came to an end with America and our allies declaring victory in Europe. There was celebrating in the streets from coast to coast, and as countless young servicemen and women returned stateside the baby boom was underway. This same year was a year to remember in the lives of Virgis and Sarah (Geil) Franks as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as summer was drawing to a close in the city of Paw Paw, Michigan, in 1945. The big day finally arrived when the baby boy they named Roger Marshall was born on August 30th. He was a spirited young boy who was raised in the family home in Paw Paw alongside his siblings, Barbara and Virg. He was the youngest of the Franks children, and he was a young man of his generation. Roger developed his lifelong love for the outdoors while growing up as he could often be found hunting or fishing. He attended school in Lawton where he was outgoing and popular among his peers. Roger also liked cars from an early age.
After graduating from Lawton High School in 1963, Roger was ready to embark on the next exciting phase in his life’s journey. He enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed in Germany for a time. The majority of the time throughout Roger’s three years in the military was spent driving a truck. Shortly after returning to Michigan after being discharged, he met Sharon and fell in love. Roger and Sharon later married, and together they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Sharon Renee. Sadly, she was born with scleroderma, which his wife also suffered from. Roger and his wife were deeply saddened with the death of their daughter when she was only 13. Just a few years later, his wife died as well.
Throughout his working days, Roger made a career with the Michigan Department of Transportation. He drove a snowplow out of Paw Paw, and after moving to Kalamazoo he became a supervisor. Roger enjoyed his work and was well respected in his job. He retired in his late fifties.
Roger found love again, and it was with someone he had known for several years. Her name was Bernice, and she worked as a waitress where he was known for going in and teasing her. Something was different about Bernice, however, because she didn’t hesitate to give it right back! They were a great match. Over time they fell in love and were married.
Throughout his life Roger was one to keep busy. He was very handy and built his house about 40 years ago with the help of his father and brother as they were all skilled in this area. Roger had an impressive work area in his garage and could often be found out there tinkering around. He also loved yard work and had the most beautiful yard as both he and Bernice attentively cared for their grass and breathtaking flowers. An avid outdoorsman, Roger enjoyed hunting and fishing nearby, looking for arrowheads throughout his nine acres, and morale mushroom hunting, which was something his whole family liked. Roger was always very close to his brother who lived nearby. He was a meat and potatoes guy who loved a great steak, and he was a good cook himself who also enjoyed manning the grill. He played the guitar and also the banjo a bit and loved having jam sessions with his buddies and his brother. Roger liked relaxing with a cold beer, usually Bud or Bud Lite, and westerns were usually his movie of choice.
A vibrant, fun-loving, and hardworking man, Roger Franks was so much fun to be around. He was gifted with his hands and loved using his handyman skills to generously help others most of all. Roger was a true character who known to tease and could even be a little crazy at times, yet it was always in the name of fun as he had the best sense of humor. He was a down to earth guy who was most comfortable in his jeans and flannel shirt, and he could find contentment in whatever life brought. Life was not always easy for Roger, but his strength and courage were inspiring. He will never be forgotten.
Roger Marshall Franks, of Paw Paw, died April 25, 2015, at Bronson Hospital, Kalamazoo. Frank’s family includes his 2 siblings: Barbara Blacksten and Virg (Judith) Franks and 7 nieces and nephews: Laurie Bastian, Virgis Franks III, Pam Perry, Shelly Piccolo, Toni Woodbury, Gina Jones and John Franks. Roger was preceded in death by his daughter, Sharon Renee Franks; first wife, Sharon Lee Franks and second wife, Bernice Franks. Visit with family and friends on Tuesday from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler & Thompson – Paw Paw, 60900 M-40; 657-3870 where services will be held Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Burial at Oak Grove Cemetery, Lawton. Please visit Roger’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. Memorial donations may be made Kairos Dwelling.