Richard Nelson Franks was born June 24, 1939, in Prescott, Arizona, and went home to the Lord on April 24, 2022. He is survived by his wife, Betty Barclay Franks.
They were married April 19, 1963, at Grace Lutheran Church in Glendale, Arizona. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a special worship service and a luncheon hosted by the Congregation at First Lutheran Church in 2013.
Before the worship service, they played hymns, Richard on keyboard and Betty on the grand piano, reminiscent of the many hours they spent playing duets when they were dating.
Richard graduated from Prescott High School in 1958 and earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees at Arizona State University.
He received his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Franks taught music appreciation and composition at Lafayette College, Cleveland State University and John Carroll University.
For many years, he served as Director of Performing Arts at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, retiring in 1996.
A second career minister, Richard was baptized August 27, 1939, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Prescott, Arizona.
He earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, in 2001.
His Ministry in Context Experience was at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Old Brooklyn, Ohio, and his internship at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Bainbridge, Ohio.
Rev. Franks was ordained August 4, 2001 and installed as the Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Bryan, Ohio, September 9, 2001. He served as President of the Bryan Area Ministerial Association and on the Board of Lutheran Social Services of Northwest Ohio.
In 2010, Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio named him Volunteer of the Year. He served as Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Bryan, Ohio until he retired December 31, 2017.
While in Bryan, Pastor Franks merged ministry and music, writing “Gentle Hearts and Helping Hands: We are Christians on a Mission,” “One Day Jesus Went for a Walk,” “Where’s Jesus-He’s in His Father’s House” to illustrate sermons.
He set the 23rd Psalm to music, featuring flute, piano, and vocal solos. He wrote the theme songs for the annual First Lutheran Church Vacation Bible School as well as a Christmas Program for the young people, “When Mary Came to Bethlehem.”
For a number of years in October, Pastor Franks raised funds for the outreach programs at First Lutheran Church by playing in and arranging a Gospel Hymn Sing which featured some of the best musicians in Northwest Ohio.
Richard will be missed by his sister-in-law, Sharon Barclay Brunsberg, who shared his love of music and the Lord as well as his cousins, Pamela Franks and her husband Bram Jacobson who enjoyed hiking and rafting with him in Arizona; his cousin Toby Franks (David) Montgomery who was a childhood companion, and his California cousins, Mike Pelak and Carol Pelak Whipple who often spend summers with his family in Prescott, Arizona.
He held a special place in the lives of his niece, Julie Cannon (Bret) Botzong, niece, Jennifer Cannon (Jack) Norris, and his nephew, Jonathan (Stephanie) Cannon who also loved the outdoors and have fond memories of the many times they spent with “Unkie” Richard in Arizona and California.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Gifford and Edna (Nelson) Franks, his sister, Jeanne (Franks) Cannon, and his uncle, John R. Franks.
A Private Committal Service will take place at Brown Cemetery. A Celebration of Life and Faith will be held Saturday, April 30, 2022, beginning at 11:00 a.m. at First Lutheran Church, 210 North Cherry Street, Bryan, Ohio with Pastor Mary Beth Smith-Gunn and Deacon Jeannie Wise officiating, as well as music performed throughout the service by friends of the family. A luncheon and time of gathering will follow the service in the church fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Food & Fellowship Program at First Lutheran Church, Williams County Humane Society, and the Bryan Music Boosters.
Condolences may be sent to the family or memories may be shared at www.oberlinturnbull.com
To send a flower arrangement to the family of Pastor Richard Nelson Franks, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.