Thurman “Ray” Franklin is a life long native of Jackson County but was living in Robbinsville at the time of his death.
Ray, as he was known to everyone was an avid hunter and fisherman most of his life and loved the mountain lakes and streams. He worked for several years at Hensley Tire Company in Sylva, serving the community with his hard work and the stories he shared. He never met a stranger and loved to “sit a spell”.
He retired from Western Carolina University with 20 years of serving the campus maintenance/grounds department. Ray loved his time there and was no stranger to hard work and shared in many amazing friendships in his time there. One of his favorite tasks was keeping the soccer field “clean and green” during the season and the team spoiled him with many team shirts and honors for his efforts.
He left to his girls a positive work ethic and the alarm clock he brought home for one that still goes off every morning to say, “it’s time to get out of bed” with the love of a caring father. He will always be with us. Ray was very involved in his Ham Radio emergency response team as well as his radio club where he met and talked and cooked (ramps and potatoes) for them each year for their annual picnics. He loved talking to other operators across the world each week and meeting new people to share his stories and get to know theirs.
He is survived by and his wife, Ola Gladden Franklin of Robbinsville; sister, Reba Beck (Sam) of Hayesville; brother, John Mark Franklin (Pat) also of Hayesville. He is also survived by Clara Nations Franklin of Sylva, mother of their two daughters, Sonya Kotila of Sylva and Devona Finley (Erik) and two granddaughters, Karissa and Hayley Finley of Waynesville. He is also survived by 10 nieces and nephews.
Ray is preceded in death by his parents; Thurman and Ruby (Rogers) Franklin as well as a sister, Phoebe Bateman (Franklin NC), a brother, Boyd Franklin (Petros TN.); and a son-in-law, Kenneth Kotila.
Loves Chapel UMC, where Ray was a lifelong member, will be having a Celebration of Life Memorial on his upcoming birthday, Friday, April 22, 2022, at 6:00pm at the church. We would like to invite all friends and family that knew Ray while in his Sylva home to attend this event to share their stories and adventures of their time with him. We will honor what would have been his 79th birthday with a celebration and lots of memories. Their will be a dinner reception to follow for fellowship and time to share even more conversation with the family.