LHS legend Don Franklin passes away at age 75


Funeral services were held Saturday morning, Nov. 26 at the Partlow Funeral Chapel for Mr. Don Franklin, 75, of Watertown.

Considered to have been one of the greatest football players in the history of Lebanon High School, Mr. Franklin died Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 at University Medical following an extended illness.

A retired teacher and coach, Mr. Franklin served in several elected positions in Lebanon and Wilson County including: eight years on the Lebanon City Council, eight years on the Wilson County Board of Education and was elected to the Wilson County Commission -- representing District 7.

A member of the College Hills Church of Christ, Mr. Franklin was on the board of Directors at Liberty State Bank, was a 32nd Degree Mason and a Shriner.

A stellar two-way lineman at Lebanon under the late Joe G. Atkinson, Franklin was beloved by his teammates and known as "Fat Rabbit". He was a 1954 graduate of LHS where he was named 1st Team All Mid-State in football.

He was a 1959 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he also received his Masters degree and was named 1st Team All-OVC defensive tackle in 1958.

Franklin taught at Castle Heights Military Academy for 15 years and at Watertown High School for 15 years, coaching football most of his teaching career. He also worked for TRW / Ross Gear for nine years in management.

In 2007 he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Blue Devil Sports Hall of Fame and in 2008 was recognized as a Golden Raider at MTSU.

Services were conducted by Dr. Larry Locke, Bro. Kevin Owen, and Bro. Jim Andrews. Interment followed at Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Survivors include: his wife of 52 years Georgia Franklin; children Benjamin Don (Ruth) Franklin Jr. of Lebanon, Jeffrey Wendell (Sherry) Franklin of Cookville, Jennifer Kay (Richard) Winfree of Lancaster and Comer Anderson Andy (Monica) Franklin of Lebanon.

Also surviving is brother Jerry (Thersa) Franklin of Lebanon; grandchildren Rachel Emily Franklin, Benjamin Jacob Franklin, Ashley Lynn Franklin, Melissa Anderson Franklin and Brooke Azilee Bowen; as well as several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Franklin is preceded in death by parents Comer and Milbra Franklin; brother Holland Franklin; sisters Jo Emily Turner and Delores Crunk.

Active pallbearers: Benjamin Don Franklin Jr., Jeffery Wendell Franklin, Comer Anderson Andy Franklin, Benjamin Jacob Franklin, James Vaden and Richard Winfree.

Honorary: Jim Andrews Life Group at College Hills Church of Christ, Mr. Franklins former Watertown High School and Castle Heights Military Academy football players and his Lebanon High School and MTSU football teammates.

Please make memorial donations to the Lebanon High Blue Devil Booster Club, P.O. Box 253, Lebanon, 37088-0253.

Lebanon's Partlow Funeral Chapel was in charge of funeral arrangements.