Chattanooga civic leader, funeral director John Franklin, Sr. dies at age 96

Chattanooga leader and funeral director John Franklin, Sr. has passed away Thursday at age 96. (Images: Family submission, WTVC)

Chattanooga leader and funeral director John Franklin, Sr. has passed away Thursday at age 96.

The John P. Franklin Funeral Home confirmed the sad news Thursday.

Franklin, Sr.'s father, G.W., was the first African American funeral director and embalmer in Chattanooga when he established the Franklin Funeral Home in 1894.

Franklin, Sr. has served the Chattanooga area on the city commission, as vice-mayor, teacher, and coach.

Ron Littlefield, former mayor of Chattanooga, says it was a privilege to serve alongside him.

"Chattanooga’s relatively quiet transition through the tumultuous era of civil rights toward becoming a more open and inclusive community was made possible by the stately presence, wise guidance and steady hand of John Franklin Sr. It was my privilege to serve with him on the last City Commission as we turned the page and ushered in the more representative City Council. He was a quiet and heroic leader through difficult times. The modern city that we enjoy today owes him a great debt."

Mayor Andy Berke expressed his gratitude toward Franklin, Sr. on Twitter Thursday.

The John P. Franklin funeral home is working on his funeral arrangements.

Below: Watch a documentary on Mr. Franklin, produced by WTCI, and used with permission.

Funeral services for Franklin will be held Friday.

He will lie in repose in the chapel of John P. Franklin Funeral Home from noon until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Public viewing will resume at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Olivet Baptist Church, and a public memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. that evening at the church.

A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday at Christ Episcopal Church, 663 Douglas St.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in John P. Franklin’s loving memory to either of the following: John P. Franklin Sr. Scholarship Fund, c/o Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, 1270 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402; or Howard School Literacy Fund, 2500 South Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408.

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