Created on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
Merle Franks, 93, passed away Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, at the Briar Hill Care Facility, surrounded by his family.
He was born on Dec. 30, 1919, in the family home in Van Buren to the late Claude Jasper and Mable Alexander Franks. He first was married to Wilma Jean Oswald and she is deceased. He also was preceded in death by siblings, Myrtlebelle (Cloyce) Roe, Evelyn (Robert) Daugherty, Emery (Mary) Franks, John (Jane) Franks and Lillian (Marvin) Smith; a son, Richard Franks; a daughter, Judith (Larry) Black; and a granddaughter, Tonya Franks.
Merle married Lavina Filliater and they were divorced. He spent the remainder of his life married to Dorothy Gonyer Long and she survives, along with a son, Larry (Bonnie) Franks; a daughter, Jan (Scott) Grady; a brother, Ray (Nancy) Franks; stepchildren, Carl (Carol) Atzbach, Cathie Atzbach, Kim Bush, Michelene (Pete) Williams, Tedi Atzbach, Ted (Patti) Long and Jill (Mick) McBride. A proud grandfather to 19 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, and 16 great-great-grandchildren, he also is survived by 24 cousins.
Merle was a 1928 graduate of Van Buren High School and remained a benevolent supporter of his alma mater. He was a lifetime member of F.O.E., and a member of The Knights of Pythias, Bloomdale 278.
His career followed him from the National Automobile Fibers, to Garwood Industries, until finally retiring from the Ford Motor Co. in Fostoria. Aside from industry work, he was a lifelong farmer and cherished his cattle, as well as all animals.
He was a member of the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church.
Merle was an avid fan of football, and enjoyed visiting his friends at the local grain elevator in North Baltimore. But his true love was his family. He always enjoyed going to family outings and reunions.
Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Smith-Crates Funeral Home, North Baltimore, where the Rev. Susan Kronbach officiates a funeral at 11 a.m. Friday. Burial is in Bechtel Cemetery, Allen Township.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church and/or Bridge Home Health and Hospice.
Express condolences at www.coldrencrates.com.