In the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 5th, 2023, John Carl Franke passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at the Marshfield Medical Center, after being admitted just the previous day. He was only 57 years old.
John was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in September 2022. His death was associated with complications brought about by this horrific disease. John faced his condition with courage, never allowing it to alter his determination or resolve – characteristics he embraced his entire life.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am Sunday, May 7th, at the Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home located at 1010 East Veterans Parkway in Marshfield. Visitation will be held from 9:30 am Sunday until the time of the service at the funeral home.
He was born November 18th, 1965, to Rodney and Judith (Homann) Franke at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield. His entire childhood was spent in this area – attending Immanuel Lutheran School during his elementary and middle school years and graduating from Marshfield Senior High School in 1984.
After high school, John worked for Mid-State Truck as a parts runner. Then, in 1988, he began working at Lynn Dairy, assisting in cheese production and collecting/transporting milk from local farms to the plant. He also spent time driving a semi tanker – delivering and gathering milk to and from other local factories.
He spent the majority of his career at Trierweiler Construction and Supply as a cement truck driver – working on numerous road construction projects throughout the state. He was a member of Teamsters Local 662 – retiring after 30 years of honorary service. John was a skilled and dedicated member of his road crew – a crew he loved and considered a part of his family.
John loved working with his hands. From woodworking to metalworking – he often self-designed everything he made – crafting things of value and usefulness for friends and family. John had amazing, self-taught skills in a variety of trades – always curious about how things were designed to work and function. This curiosity fueled his knowledge- becoming proficient at everything he decided to pursue or undertake.
Every year with great delight, John looked forward to the deer hunting season – less for the actual hunt and more for the camaraderie and fellowship of family. Camp was located in the Bear Lake area of the Chequamegon National Forest near Loretta, Wisconsin. He was proud of carrying on this Homann tradition that began with his grandfather Carl Homann in the early 1950s – hunting this section of land for over 70 years.
Annually, without fail, he made the westward trek to Southern Utah to visit and help his brother Scott – hiking and four-wheeling in both desert and mountain terrain. He loved taking his pickup on back country roads, seldom traveled and seen by others.
He enjoyed smoking meats of all kinds as well as making a variety of salsas. He loved to treat everyone he met with his creations – taking pride in giving away more than he kept for himself. This giving nature permeated all of his relationships. He saw it as a duty to care for and serve others – often at his own expense. This was a defining principle of who he was as a son, brother, uncle, and friend.
God measures men not by their outside appearances but by what resides in their hearts. Using this standard, the size and impact of John's life loomed large in all he did, in all he loved, and in everyone he encountered.
He is survived by his mother, Judy; sister, Susan Zinsli; and brother, Scott; three nephews, Logan and Greta Zinsli (Dillion and Carter), Tyler Zinsli, Garrick and Tali Zinsli (Claire and Charlotte); and two nieces, Heather Lang and Amber and Stephen Kelley (Aubrey and Ben). To John, his nieces and nephews and their children were like his very own – loving them as a father would love his own children.
He is also survived by his Godparents, Chet and Donna Franke (Marshfield); his Uncle Wayne and Aunt Mary (Cambridge), Aunt Betty Homann (Fort Atkinson), Aunt Marion Homann (Lake Mills); and several cousins from both the Franke and Homann lineages.
He was preceded in death by his father, Rodney Franke (2019); grandparents, John and Bessie (Gardner) Franke; grandparents, Carl and Mabel (Strutz) Homann; and several aunts and uncles from both sides of the family.
The family would like to thank the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and the Marshfield Medical Center Emergency Room and Palliative Care staff for their level of care and professionalism, as well as the Wisconsin chapter of the ALS Foundation for all the necessary equipment and supplies they loaned to John during his illness.
John's family would like to extend a very, very heartfelt thanks to his Trierweiler crew and family. Without their love, concern, and support, John would not have been able to achieve his thirty-year tenure with their organization.
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