George 'Pete' Franklin
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January 8, 1932 - November 22, 2020
George Franklin was born in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania in 1932 to Nan Quigley and George Washington Franklin Jr. He had no middle name because his father disliked his own. Everyone called him 'Pete'. An only child, he was surrounded by extended family - aunts, uncles, and his closest cousins.
He was an Eagle Scout because his father loved and led BSA and he was only permitted to drive once he had achieved the rank. Some of his favorite memories surround hanging out and running rampant with his Delaware County neighborhood pals. We used to tease him about memories 'down at the store' singing on the bread boxes. Or 'down at the shore.' To this day, many of his closest pals around the country went to school with him or lived in his neighborhood and still stay in touch via phone and mail. He lived for road trips and personal visits. Once you were our Pop's friend, you were his friend for life.
He played basketball and football in High School at PPHS, and at college at Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, Pa. He studied business, with a minor in commercial Spanish. He was a fraternity brother at Phi Kappa Psi. He met Marjorie Ann Fickel (from Carlisle PA and nearby Gettysburg College) at a fraternity dance and they began to date. He graduated college in 1954. They were married between Hurricanes Connie and Diane in Baltimore on August 13, 1955, where Marge was working as a social worker. Pete was hired straight out of college to manage and sell corporate real estate for the Sun Oil Company in Philadelphia. He worked there for nearly 36 years, and pensioned early, having sold all of the land his division owned.
He and Marge lived in Upper Darby and Morton, before building a home in Wallingford, PA in 1965. They had three children they dearly loved: Kathryn Lynn born in 1956 predeceased him in 2010, Marianne (1960) and Michael Scott (1963). Always a fan of the Phillies, and Sixers, Pete was a diehard Eagles fan with season tickets in the 'nosebleeds' for nearly 25 years. When his son Mike worked for the Eagles or was on the Board for the Citrus Bowl, he was in heaven at those games. He and Michael made it to one losing Eagles Superbowl, and he lived to see a dream no one but him thought possible: a Philadelphia Eagles Superbowl victory in 2018.
His work for Sunoco took him around the country, and he gave up promotions to stay in the field and visit his people across Texas, Oklahoma, South Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, where the Sun Refineries lined the Delaware River. We called him the Mayor of Marcus Hook. He knew everyone. Pete was on the Nether Providence Township Zoning Board, belonged to Creekside Swim Club, and helped to coach softball, baseball, basketball, and football for his kids when they were young.
He always had a company car, sometimes with a CB radio. When our family visited the shore at Wildwood or Ocean City we would stop and be introduced at South Jersey Farm Stands along the way. Always, in every town or state, Pete knew every backroad and shortcut. It was a rare summer week when he came home from work without fresh corn or tomatoes from his property owner farmers.
He loved to garden and work in the yard and ride his bike. He was completely devoted to his wife Marge, and her family, and loved her parents with all his heart. His family was somber and somewhat religious. His new extended Fickel family was like a rowdy, rambunctious series of characters in a play, and he adored them, and their humor. He and his father-in-law, J. Rodney, were thick as thieves.
He and Marge recreated that joy and humor in his family. Always, he offered his children support, encouragement and love. They welcomed Michael's wife Pam Franklin and Mari's husband Rich Everett and loved them as their own - maybe better. They adored their grandchildren. Marge and Pete retired to Pensacola, Florida in 1989. They loved their open floor plan and wide-open wicker-lined screened-porch, their tropical plants, their pool, their new friends and neighbors, the weather, and the easy access to the Gulf Beaches. Grandkids Kathy's Lauren from Newark, DE; Peter (and his wife Daniella Vitale in Davie, Florida) and Patrick, Thomas and Grace Franklin from Pittsburgh; and Henry, and Anna Gus (Pop's Annie) Everett from Pensacola, Florida remember best their beach, porch and pool times (and the blue Elephant slide) while visiting with their Nini and Pops.
Pete played Golf and worked at the local Driving Range. He also had a brief stint in the Target Garden department hired to sell Christmas trees - prized for his kindness and knowledge - fired for his slow and steady pace running a register. He drove a green Ford F-150, made hundreds of new friends, and visited with old ones, new ones, former colleagues, and family across the country. In twenty years in Pensacola he put more miles on his new Beach Cruiser mountain bike, than he had on his truck.
He loved Christmas, decorated with zeal, and always had model trains beneath the tree. He wood-worked and made furniture and decorations. He maintained his own Christmas Card list from business days, that he added to and kept sending until he was 87. He loved to read fiction, history, and anything sports related.
When Marjorie Ann passed away in 2009, he began to volunteer as a driver to get folks to doctor's appointments and chemotherapy for the American Cancer Society. A cancer survivor himself, multiple times since 1995, he rarely missed a Pensacola Relay for Life Survivor Celebration.
Good-willed, kind, funny, adventurous, and beloved by many: he will be greatly missed, yet we celebrate his joy, humor, and zest for life. He was a lifelong Presbyterian, and a private cremation and memorial celebration will be followed when possible by a public one so family and friends may gather.
We would like to thank the folks at Woodcliff Apartments, and then The Veranda of Pensacola, where Pops moved after an accident and illness this year. Not an easy feat during a Pandemic, Pops resisted, then handled it with grace and his characteristic stubborn strength. Doctors James Frost and Pardeep Kumari, and his Primary Lorrie Knapp saved him and treated him with ultimate care these past five years. He adored his retina specialist Dr. John P. Myers and audiologist, Dr. Carol Powell. Covenant Hospice provided professional care and respite.
Please grow some flowers, or gift some, in his honor. He loved Toys for Tots, and supported his local Pensacola Manna Food Bank, Favor House, and the Gulf Coast Kid's House. Cremation arrangements are through the Trahan Family Funeral Home in Pensacola.
Trite though it may be, Pete spent his life living the Boy Scout oath:
"On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."
And so, he did.