Pioneer Aviator Roy Franklin was remembered Saturday, February 26th at the Island Air Hangar in Friday Harbor. Click on the tab above called Roy Franklin Memorial Photos for a complete slide show.
Bill Waxman forwards this description and photo:
Presided over by Archie Brooks, who gave a scripture reading and moderated the speakers, the memorial for Roy Vincent Franklin, at the Friday Harbor Airport, built by him, lasted about three and a half hours.
Aviation pioneer Franklin’s offspring gave their recollections of their father and life with him, and then grandchildren and finally students, employees and simply loving friend spoke as well.
The memorial was less a religious event than it was truly a celebration of the life of a colorful man who obviously deeply loved this community and its inhabitants. A groundbreaking starter of private passenger and freight delivery by air, Franklin remains almost a legendary figure in the hearts and minds of those who knew him and will be so for those who did not, as well.
Roy V. Franklin was born May 1, 1924 into a hard working family who, living on a farm typical of its day, without running water or even electrical power of any kind. He grew into a strong young man with “…hands of steel…” from milking the dairy cows on the from and doing the myriad jobs a youngster does in a farm setting.
Later he joined the U.S. Navy, where he became a youthful Ensign during WWII, flying in a Fighter-Bomber Squadron of carrier-based Corsairs.
Throughout his life he remained a strict disciplinarian, and was stubborn to a fault. He had a vision which became the Friday Harbor Airport through his dedication and efforts, because of an abiding faith that some things were too important to ignore, among which were air transport to sick or injured islanders to the nearest hospital when necessary.
Roy still touches the lives of every man, woman or child who has been flown from the island by helicopter or fixed wing in an emergency through his perseverance in finished his task of building an airport from which it all could happen.
As a finale to the event of his memorial, Jackie Hamilton, Chris Marsden and Jesse Lofquist performed a ceremonial “flyby” of the airport to honor Roy Franklin and his surviving family.
The Franklin family wish to thank the Pilots Association members, Jackie and Will Hamilton, John Geyman and Mark Schwinge for “all they have done”. Their hope for the patriarch, Roy was expressed thus from a poem by aircraft mechanic and pilot Frank Gunneman:
“Dad….May you find your pathway to the stars.”