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David L. Franz

David Lincoln Franz, 85, longtime resident of Hamilton, and emeritus professor of history at Gordon College in Wenham, died Thursday November 5, 2009 in the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers following his brief illness.

Born April 20, 1924 in Stoneham, he was the son of the late Paul and Jessie (Whittemore) Franz. He was raised in Malden, Wilmington, and Billerica. He entered Barrington College (Providence Bible Institute) in Rhode Island in the fall of 1942. Summer activities during his student days included preaching in Mars Hill, ME, and while a student at Wheaton College in Illinois, traveling with a  singing and preaching gospel team to the west coast. Upon graduation from Wheaton, he enrolled in Harvard University in 1945, earning his masterís degree, then transferring to the University of Massachusetts where he completed his PhD thesis in 1972. He further studied as a Fulbright scholar in 1954 at the Free University in Amsterdam, Netherlands; later at Cambridge University in England, and in 1975 and 1979 he spent two sabbatical semesters studying in London.

In 1951, he began to teach freshman history at Gordon College and in 1958, he pioneered one of the first international study programs in the United States. His European Seminars offered study travel at minimal cost to students for 35 summers in Europe, Israel, Russia, Scandinavia and other international sites. The courses formed the foundation for the current array of international courses offered by Gordon College. In 1981, the trips were opened to alumni and continued until 2005, years after his retirement in 1991.

At the close of his 40 years on Gordonís faculty, and as the senior leader of the faculty, he was designated the first of his department to occupy the Stephen Phillips Chair of History. This honor enabled David to continue teaching historiography after retirement as well as do further research. The David Franz Lecture series was begun in 1991, an annual initiative of the history department at Gordon College. At Gordon Collegeís Homecoming 2009, the establishment of the David Lincoln Franz Fellowship awards program was announced, an effort initiated and financed by his former students. Active in alumni affairs of Providence Bible Institute and Gordon College, he also led efforts to encourage retired faculty to gather as a group at homecoming events.

On August 28, 1948 he married Doris Byitte of Brooklyn, NY, a fellow student at PBI. She died January 19, 1998 at the family home in Hamilton. He married Muriel Radtke, a Gordon College colleague, on February 14, 2003.  Until 2008, they resided in S. Hamilton and spent winters in Stuart, FL.

He will be remembered for his passion for combining the scholarly study of history with travel to the actual sites of events, his gentle, kind and generous spirit, an unparalleled sense of humor, and, above all, his great love of his family.

In addition to his wife he is survived by four children, Paul Franz and his wife Lori of Hamilton, Carol Franz and her husband William Kremen of Carlsbad, CA, Calvin Franz and his wife Laurel of  Hamilton, and Rebecca Goss and her husband David of Beverly; fourteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters Dorothy Temple and her husband Frank of Lunenberg, MA, Barbara Bourne and her husband Gordon of  W. Rutland, VT, and Olive Goff and her husband William of E. Greenwich, RI. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law Doris Franz of Westerville, OH, Pat Weiner of MA, and Wilma Franz of Aiken, SC.  He was the brother of the late Allan Franz, Robert Franz, Harold Franz, and Lucy Franz.

A memorial service will be held Monday, November 9 at 11 am in the First Presbyterian Church, 179 County Road, Ipswich. Family and friends respectfully welcomed. Interment in the Hamilton Cemetery will be private. Arrangements by the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. Those who wish to contribute in his memory may send donations to the David Lincoln Franz Fellowship at Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984. These awards are given to worthy international students.

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