9 entries
  • "Was so sorry to hear of Sam's passing. He was a greatly..."
    - Sue Hersey
  • "polly my sorrow is with you. your loss is so deeply heart..."
    - johnnie sumner
  • "CapyTan, as I called him, Sam was the only person that I..."
    - Bryan Frink
  • "Polly, Sammy, Mary Lydia, it is with great sorrow that we..."
    - Jimmy King
  • "Polly and family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I..."
    - Beverly Collum Newton
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WILMINGTON -- Samuel Clay Franklin, Sr. passed away at home on April 14, 2012 after a brief illness. He was 76 years old. His funeral will be 11:00 AM Thursday at the First Baptist Church at 411 Market St. The family will receive visitors Wednesday between 6 pm and 8 pm at the Coble Ward-Smith Funeral Home at 3915 Oleander Drive.

Sam was born on Oct. 9, 1935, to Samuel Higginbotham Franklin and Mary Kincheloe Franklin of Glasgow, KY. Sam, an only child, attended high school at the Columbia Military Academy in Columbia, TN. Sam enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, receiving a BS in Textile Engineering. Fun-loving and gregarious, Sam enjoyed socializing and was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity at Georgia Tech. After graduation, Sam joined the U.S. Coast Guard, attending Officer Candidate School in New London, CT. While an officer in the Coast Guard, Sam, a crack shot and avid duck hunter, was a member of the US Coast Guard pistol team.

He married Helen Louise "Polly" Campbell of Monroeville, PA, on July 15, 1961. Sam returned to Georgia Tech with his bride, earning another BS and a Masters in Industrial Management. He was very proud to be the first person to graduate from the Masters of Industrial Management program with a 4.0 grade point average. Sam worked as a manager for DuPont Manufacturing from 1964-1993; he worked at DuPont textile plants in Old Hickory, TN, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, and Wilmington. Sam made the most of the five years spent in Europe, traveling extensively with his wife and two children, Sam Jr. and Mary Lydia, and working as a troop leader in the Boy Scouts of America in Luxembourg where his son was a Scout. Sam enjoyed skiing, visiting historic sties and military museums, sampling foreign food and enjoying wine and beer with friends. He considered the years in Luxembourg some of his most memorable. Sam was an amateur photographer and took many beautiful photos during his years in Europe.

Sam brought his family to Wilmington in December 1977 and embraced his new home. After retiring from DuPont, Sam stayed busy with many hobbies and civic activities. Whatever he did, he went after it 100 percent and usually rose to a leadership position. Sam enjoyed sailing and earned his captain's license. For seven years, he served as First Mate on the Dan Moore, a research vessel for students at Cape Fear Community College. Sam also served as Coast Guard Auxiliary Commander and Instructor for Flotilla 10-6 in Wilmington. He was also the Educational Director for Cape Fear Sail and Power Squadron.

His interests included amateur radio; he was the Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club President. Sam was an accomplished woodworker and wood turner who made beautiful Colonial-style furniture for his family. He used his carpentry skills as a volunteer for Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity and he was a member of the Wilmington Woodturners Association. Sam was an avid do-it-yourselfer. He had a knack for machines and could fix anything. When he needed a dingy for his sailboat, Sam took a wooden boat-building class and built one.

Sam had a lifelong love of learning new skills. Around age 70, Sam took up the banjo and was continuing lessons until the time of his death. He stayed busy traveling and training with his most recent passion: dog handling. Sam won many honors in regional and national hunt and field trials with his beloved black labrador retriever, Hal. Sam was the current President of the Cape Fear Retriever Club. He was a member of the St. John's Masonic Lodge No 1 and a member of First Baptist Church of Wilmington for 30 years.

Sam is survived by his wife of 50 years, Polly; his son, Dr. Sam C. Franklin, Jr., and his wife, Pringle, of Charleston, SC.; his daughter, Mary Franklin Baldwin and her husband, Alan, of Apex, NC, and five grandsons, Samuel Clay Franklin III, Willis Benton Pipkin Franklin, and Thomas Pringle Baker Franklin, of Charleston; William Alan Thorrestrup Baldwin IV, and Campbell Hollis Baldwin, of Apex, and his faithful lab, Hal.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Shriners Hospitals for Children ( in Sam's name.

Online condolences at

Published in the Wilmington Star-News from Apr. 18 to Apr. 19, 2012
Arrangements under the direction of:
Coble Ward-Smith Funeral & Cremation Service
3915 Oleander Drive | Wilmington, NC 28403 | (910) 791-4444
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