Glenda Cleo Unruh Franklin moved from earth to heaven on Thursday, May 19, 2016, at age 102. She was a resident at Schowalter Villa in Hesston.
Glenda was born March 16, 1914, the oldest of five children, near Pawnee Rock.
Glenda experienced a calling to be teacher when she was a student in the sixth grade. After graduating from Pawnee Rock High School in 1932, Glenda worked long hours for a family as a housekeeper and cook to earn and save money so that she could pursue her calling to be a teacher.
She attended Bethel College for two years in the mid-thirties and earned the credentials to begin her career as a teacher, thus fulfilling her childhood dream.
Years later, Glenda completed requirements for a bachelor of science in elementary education degree at Fort Hays State University. Many students benefited from Glenda’s passion for, and delight in teaching, whether it was in Sunday school, Bible School, or in public schools.
Early in her career, she was the sole teacher in a one room schoolhouse near Pawnee Rock named Prairie Home School. Subsequently, Glenda taught the first three grades and served as principal at Radium, before settling into her first grade classroom in Pawnee Rock. She enjoyed tutoring in her home after she retired. First graders were her love. Teaching reading was her passion.
Glenda married Jesse L. Franklin at Bergthal Mennonite Church, Pawnee Rock, on May 24, 1939. At that time, she was the sole teacher at Prairie Home School, near Pawnee Rock. A school board member introduced Jess Franklin, then a bachelor living on a farm near the school, to Glenda at a school event. They married after a courtship of several months.
Glenda was a true helpmate to her husband, Jess. During many wheat harvests on their Prairie Home Farm near Pawnee Rock, she drove the truck and delivered delicious meals, including cold ice cream malts, to the field. Her daughters, their husbands and their children enjoyed participating in the adventures of wheat harvest during the 1970’s.
Glenda and her husband, Jess, moved off the farm to Great Bend in the early 1980’s. Jess died in 1986. Glenda continued to live in Great Bend for 10 years, then moved into the Schowalter Villa community during the month of May, 1996, and lived at 455 Neufeld Drive, independently, until after she reached the age of 100 in 2014.
Glenda was an excellent seamstress and quilter, and an avid wheat weaver. During her latter years, she knitted hundreds of blue washcloths, donating them to MCC for sale at various locations throughout the country. Glenda supported mission work, particularly in Pakistan, India and Haiti.
Glenda sought God’s will throughout her life, and God richly blessed all of Glenda’s work.
During recent years, Glenda often requested a ride in the countryside so that she could see the wheat fields or a beautiful sunset and enjoy the stillness of “not a leaf blowing”. She was a true woman of the plains of Kansas.
Preceding Glenda in death were her parents, Harry and Lena Unruh; her sisters Avis and Allene; her brother Raymond; her beloved husband Jesse and two granddaughters, Kristy Frederick Swanson and Sonja Rene Epp.
Survivors include her youngest sister, Lorrayne Pankratz (Norman) of Hesston; two daughters, Jeanette D. Frederick (Richard) of Bryant, Arkansas, and Ruth V. Epp (Gerry) of Hesston; three grandchildren: Lisa Epp Morris (John) of Austin, Texas; Ann Frederick Pierson (Rob) of Scottsdale, Arizona; Matthew Frederick (Hope) of Maumelle, Arkanas; four great granddaughters: Margo Frederick of Maumelle, Arkansas, Gabriella, Mallory and Kristy Pierson of Scottsdale, Arizona; four great-grandsons, Andrew Swanson Frederick (Amanda) of Benton, Arkansas, Conner Frederick of Bryant, Arkansas, Gus and Jackson Morris of Austin, Texas and three great-great-grandchildren, Madison, Kelsie and Ethan of Benton, Arkansas, as well as many nieces and nephews and friends.
A memorial service celebrating Glenda’s life will be held Saturday, May 21 at 1 p.m. in the chapel at Schowalter Villa, Hesston. Arrangements are being made by Miller-Ott Funeral Home of Hesston, Kansas. (620-327-2685).
A graveside service will be held, at Bergthal Cemetery, Pawnee Rock, at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.