Erwin Franke, 98, of Spring Valley


Erwin Franke

Erwin Carl Franke, 98, of Spring Valley, died on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.

He was born on a farm five miles south of Gaylord on Dec. 22, 1919, son of John and Ida (Schlenner) Franke.

On Jan. 18, 1920, he was baptized into the membership of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Gaylord.

On May 20, 1934, he was also confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

He graduated from Gaylord High School and was valedictorian in the spring of 1939. In the spring of 1943, he graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and on May 16, 1945, he graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.

On May 30, 1945, he was united in holy matrimony with Dorothy Irene Drinkall in the former Zion Lutheran Church of Spring Valley. This union was blessed with five children: John, Joyce, Leona, Linda and Mark.

On June 10, 1945, he was ordained in the Lutheran ministry in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Gaylord. On June 17, 1945, he was installed as pastor of the former Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Belgrade. In April 1948, he became the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in West Union, Iowa. After serving there for 10 years, he became the pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Cresco, Iowa, in March 1958. On Sept. 24, 1978, he was installed as pastor of Deer Creek Lutheran Church of Carpenter, Iowa. He served there until March 31, 1995, when he retired and he and his wife moved to Spring Valley.

He had a talent for raising money. He was pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in West Union when they built a new parsonage and made plans for the new church and education unit. While in Cresco, a new parsonage and education unit were built. In Carpenter, a new elevator/lift addition was built onto the church.

He enjoyed preaching most. On Nov. 20, 1966, the Immanuel Lutheran Church of Cresco started broadcasting its Sunday morning service over KFIL radio of Preston. After doing this for 12 years, he moved to Carpenter and continued to broadcast for 16 years over radio stations in Austin and Mason City, Iowa.

His hobby was farming. Some called him the “preacher-farmer.” In this way, he paid for their farm northeast of Spring Valley and also put all of their five children through college, or gave them the equivalent in cash.

He is survived by his children, John Franke (Debbie) of Raleigh, N.C.; Joyce Hansel (Al) of Claremont; Linda Bengfort (Scott) of Davenport, Iowa and Mark Franke (Cioney) of Austin, Texas.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Irene; brothers, Raymond and William; sisters, Viola and Elmira and daughter, Leona Keune.

Funeral services for him were held on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Spring Valley with the Rev. Mark Van House officiating. Burial followed in the church cemetery.