Thomas Lee Franklin, 64, of Elizabethtown, died Monday, June 10, 2013, at Hardin Memorial Hospital.
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He was a native of Hardin County. He worked his way through school and often held two jobs at the same time. He earned his tuition money and completed course work to earn a teaching certificate and began his career. He mostly worked at Fort Knox in civil service positions.
He began teaching at G.C. Burkhead after completing his student teaching there. He stayed and taught for six years starting with fifth and sixth grades and moving down to teach the first and second-grades. He enjoyed that but was soon beginning to forget everything he knew except his letters and counting to 100. It was there he worked for Miss Pearl Miller.
He transferred to a newly opened Hardin Central Junior High in 1976 with Mr. Cletus Coats as principal; and was active in student affairs and willing to teach whatever areas he was needed in. Mr. Coats told him once he appreciated knowing that if he needed a teacher in any area he always felt he could come to Thomas and ask and he wouldn't be turned down. He sponsored the student council and began the speech and drama program for the ninth-graders and later on accelerated eighth-graders. He was transferred out because of an elementary teaching certificate in 1981 and against his wishes was placed at New Highland Elementary which had only been open a year. As Thomas put it, "it was an experience."
He was transferred the following year to Radcliff Middle School and taught science and the gifted and talented students. He took students to participate in the Kentucky Youth Assembly and Kentucky United Nations Assembly every year in Frankfort and usually won several events. He also entered students every year in the Optimist Club oratorical contest; his winners went on to the next level.
He then left Radcliff to return to Hardin Central Middle School and worked there during all the construction and change to the new big high school. He always thought that breathing all the dirt and concrete dust and fumes from paint and other stuff couldn't have been good for him. He went from Central's changing over to East Hardin Middle School and moved to Glendale to be close to work. He stayed at East Hardin and in his final year developed an art program before retiring.
He served on the site-based decision making council as an elected teacher representative.
Thomas was glad to retire and leave teaching as it had begun to deteriorate to babysitting services. His motto had always been a quote from Jesse Stuart, "To teach is to learn twice." He was no longer teaching at East Hardin. Retirement didn't last long, he was called to come to Meadow View Elementary in Radcliff and fill in as an art teacher for kindergarten through fifth grades. The following year he was called to Upton as a part-time art teacher. He worked there two days a week and understood the importance of the small community school.
He went to work at helping to open Petro/Iron Skillet and worked as a cashier and later part-time bookkeeper. He left there to go to West Hardin Middle School as a special education teacher. He even went back to college and became certified in special education. He worked there for years. He then worked for St. James Catholic Regional School as an art teacher starting in 2005.
He was a member of the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association and a member of St. James Catholic Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ben and Frances Josephine O'Brien Franklin.
He is survived by a son, Joey (Teresa) Lanham of Cecilia; a brother, Harry (Norma Sue) Franklin of Glendale; a sister, Anna Jane Cave of Glendale; two grandchildren, Miranda (Andy) Burnett of Hodgenville and Chantel Lanham of Elizabethtown; one great-grandchild, Aislynn Burnett; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
The funeral is at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at St. James Catholic Church with the Revs. Chuck Walker and Matthew Hardesty officiating. Burial follows in St. James Catholic Church Cemetery.
Visitation is from 3:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and continues at 11 a.m. Thursday at Brown Funeral Home in Elizabethtown. A prayer vigil is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Brown Funeral Home
306 College Street Elizabethtown, KY 42701
Published in The News-Enterprise on June 12, 2013