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Franzen, Jacob H. (1876-1960) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Franzen, Jacob H. (1876-1960)

Historical Note:

obituary from Mennonite Weekly Review:

Jacob H. Franzen, son of Heinrich and Elizabeth Wedel Franzen, was born on June 19, 1876, in the parental home four miles north of Goessel, Kansas, where he spent his early youth helping with the work of the farm and in the erection of the farm buildings. His father passed away in June 1898, leaving the mother with six children of whom Jacob was the oldest.

On May 26, 1896, he was baptized by Rev. Jacob Buller and received into the membership of the Alexanderwohl Mennonite church. On August 23, 1908, he was united in marriage to Katharina Quiring, daughter of Franz and Susanna Quiring. She passed away on Feb. 4, 1937. Their three daughters, Dorothea, Wanda, and Ruth survive.

At an early age, Mr. Franzen developed a desire to obtain an education. He attended the Bethel academy at Newton, Kansas from 1895-1898 and completed the German Academic course in 1915. Teaching became his profession. After eight years of teaching in several rural schools of Marion county he accepted the position as principal of the Moundridge High school from 1908-1910. He entered Kansas State Teachers college of Emporia and was awarded an A. B. degree in Education in 1912 and a B. S. degree in 1915.

Subsequently he held positions as superintendent of the Moundridge High school, 1912-1914, instructor in the Bethel academy, 1914-1917, principal of the Hillsboro public schools, 1917-1918, superintendent of the Hillsboro public schools, 1918-1920 and 1922-1930. He also studied at the University of Kansas. Throughout his teaching career he constantly strove to develop the best possible curricula and standards in order that the students might obtain good instruction and also enable them to develop constructive ideals and broad interests.

After 1930, Mr. Franzen was associated with the Harlow Publishing Company, the Garnett Church Furniture Company and was employed for ten years by the State Revenue and Inspection Department. In 1943 he returned to the education profession as superintendent of the Marion County schools from which position he retired in 1953. It was during this time that the rural schools underwent an extensive reorganization which resulted in the consolidation of smaller districts into larger schools.

Mr. Franzen was intensely interested in the activities of the church. He served as a Sunday school teacher until recent months, as Sunday school superintendent, and as a deacon of the First Mennonite church of Hillsboro, of which he became a member in 1924. Serving in these capacities afforded him opportunities of lending assistance to those he knew as his students and in whom he was always personally interested.

As a member of the City Chamber of Commerce, the Marion County Fair Association and the local Kiwanis Club he played an active part in promoting city and community affairs. He was keenly aware of the need of a modernly equipped hospital and promoted the erection of the present Salem hospital and the remodeling of the former hospital building into a home for the aged. More recently he assisted in the moving of the Adobe House into the Memorial Park and in furnishing it with items used by the Mennonite pioneers.

He was never content to be idle but constantly sought ways in which he could encourage, inspire and serve his family, church and community. Reading occupied a great deal of his time, which kept him well informed and sustained his wide range of interests.

Mr. Franzen passed away the morning of April 13, 1960, in the University of Kansas Medical Center where he had been admitted as a patient on April 6. His immediate survivors include his three daughters, Dorothea of Bloomington, Ill., Wanda of Emporia, Kansas, and Ruth of Lawrence, Kan.; three brothers, Henry of Topeka, Kansas, John and Gerhard of Goessel; two sisters, Anna and Sara Franzen Klassen of Goessel.

Funeral services were held April 16 in the First Mennonite church of Hillsboro. Rev. Albert Koontz officiated. Interment was in the cemetery of the First Mennonite church.

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