In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 30, 2019, Rodney “Rod” R. Franke passed away at the House of Dove in Marshfield, Wisconsin at the age of 88, with his wife Judy by his side. A Memorial service will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2019 at the Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home, 1010 East Veterans Parkway, Marshfield. Visitation will be held from 9:30 am Saturday until the time of the service at the funeral home.
He was born September 4, 1930, to John and Bessie (Gardner) Franke in the township of Lynn, Clark County Wisconsin. As a small boy, he grew up in the Sherwood area, (a place he always held close to his heart), until his family moved to Unity in the spring of 1939. He graduated from Loyal High School in 1948.
He started his career as a telegrapher for the train depot in Riplinger, Wisconsin; eventually landing a job with the Milwaukee Road in February of 1950. Later that same year, he was drafted and served in the US Navy (1950-1954), during the Korean War. He used his skills as a telegrapher on the aircraft carriers USS Roosevelt, the USS Midway, and the USS Coral Sea. He spent the last year of his naval service in Washington DC working for the National Security Administration at the Pentagon. Once honorably discharged, he continued working for the Milwaukee Road at their Duplainville train tower as a telegrapher.
He married Judith Mae Homann on August 2, 1956 – a marriage that lasted almost 63 years. They lived in Hartland, Ellsworth, and eventually moved to Marshfield in spring of 1959.
In 1960, he began a 25 year career with the Marshfield Police Department, starting out as a patrolman and retiring in 1985 as a Lieutenant Commander. During his police career, he also worked part-time for the Marshfield Clinic as an Outreach Driver – a job he held for 23 years.
He loved to travel the country, particularly in the West. He had a fascination with capturing special moments on movie cameras and tape recorders, and loved to write song lyrics and poems throughout his life. His sense of humor was contagious, and he loved telling and hearing stories from anyone who would share and listen. The simple enjoyment of the laughter and fun it brought to everyone’s life brought him great joy. His family, both immediate and extended, were all important to him, and he valued every one of those relationships in his own unique and distinctive way. He had an exceptional gift of making every person he met feel like they mattered.
He is survived by his wife; Judy, daughter; Susan Zinsli, sons; Scott and John Franke, sister; Lois Schindler, brother; Chester (Donna) Franke, brothers-in-law and sisters in law; Wayne (Mary) Homann, Carl (Betty) Homann and Marion Homann, along with many nieces and nephews.
He is also survived by his grandchildren; Heather Lang, Amber (Stephen) Kelley, Logan (Greta) Zinsli, Tyler Zinsli, and Garrick (Tali) Zinsli, and five great grandchildren, Aubrey, Benjamin, Dillon, Claire, and Carter.
He was preceded in death by his parents; John and Bessie Franke, his brother; Kenneth Franke and his brother in law; James Schindler. He is also preceded in death by many beloved extended family members.
The family would like to thank physicians and staff at Marshfield Medical Center, The House of Dove, Ascension Home Health and all his numerous caregivers over the course of his lifetime. He always spoke highly of all the amazing care he was given over the years. We also would like to thank everyone who lent a helping hand this last year.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Rodney’s name are being accepted by his family for charity to be determined at a later date.