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John Franklin, passed away May 19, following a long and valiant fight against multiple serious health concerns, including Mylofibrosis and Diabetes.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, brought up in Detroit, Michigan, John has been in the "communications" business for 52 years (47 of them as a Westport resident). Much of that time was spent with BBDO, JWT and other famous initials in key creative positions. At age 23, John was creative director on Dodge car and truck TV advertising. At 35, he was President of The Broadcast Organization where his colleagues included Tommy Mottola (Sony Records exec.), Lee Adams (lyricist "Bye Bye Birdie"). Later he became President of The International Communications Group whose clients included Vernors Soft Drinks, Dayton Hudson and Lane Bryant, among many others. In addition to more "traditional" media advertising, John produced a TV sports interview series for Ford, theatrical events for seniors and records. Along the way, he became known as a radio "mavin" creating award winning commercials for New York and Connecticut clients. Moving his office to Westport, he served a variety of Fairfield County's finest including "Mitchells", "Klaff's", Westport Resources, Hall Brooke Hospital and many more.
In 1965, at the suggestion of producer Harold Prince, John arranged a "transfer" from Detroit to New York. Ever since, he has continued to pursue his goal of writing lyrics for the "great American Musical". While at JWT, he was asked to write lyrics for an all African American musical, "Yoo Hoo Aunt Carrie's Comin;"(in collaboration with jazz legend JJ Johnson) which had a brief run at The Lambs Theatre. Subsequently, in collaboration with Brian Koonin, he wrote a revue of political satire," American Follies" which played in New York and elsewhere, collaborated on "An Evening At The Cotton Club" which opened at Small's Paradise in Harlem, and created tribute retrospectives to his favorite lyricists Sheldon Harnick (with his help), Frank Loesser (with his daughter Emily) and George Gershwin (for Westport's Theatre Artists Workshop and The Woman's Club).He's created tributes to eras from The 20s to the 60s pro bono to raise funds for local non-profits.
John created a number of celebrity revues in NYC for his Alma mater, Northwestern University. Northwestern presented John with a distinguished service award in Chicago and he also received an "Advocate For The Arts" Award from the CT legislature during his time as President of The Westport Arts Center. While President of The Westport Sunrise Rotary, John invited the community to participate in our own musical satire, "Forbidden Westport" which is fast becoming one more Westport tradition. In October 2012, the Town of Westport and its Arts Advisory Committee, named John Franklin Champion of the Arts.
He has been married for 54 years to the retired founding Executive Director of the Stamford Senior Center, Jeanne Franklin. They have 3 adult children, Jeff and his wife Dana, Jim and Jennifer Krulewitch and husband Danny Krulewitch (parents of their 2 adored grandchildren, CJ and Drew.
John asked his family to request of those who wished to make charitable contributions do so to Sunrise Rotary 21st Century Foundation, Inc. PO box 43, Westport, Ct 06880 or Northwestern University School of Communication, 1261 Davis Evanston, Ill, 06208, and noting "in Memory of John Franklin."
Sat. and Sun, May 25 and 26, from 3-6 pm, John's family invite friends and family for a Welcoming Hug at John and Jeanne's home. The end of June there will be a Celebration of the Life of John Franklin.
Funeral services have been entrusted to the Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Rd. in Fairfield Center. To send an online condolence, please visit www.shaughnesseybanks.com.
Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home & Cremation Services - Fairfield
50 Reef Road Fairfield, CT 06430
Published in StamfordAdvocate from May 22 to May 23, 2013