STURGIS, Mich. - Newell A. Franks, owner and founder of Burr Oak Tool Inc., passed away Oct. 30, 2007, in his home. He was 98. On Dec. 15, 1928, he married Grace A. Disler, who preceded him in death Oct. 9, 2002.

Franks’ first jobs ranged from janitorial to appliance sales for the Michigan Gas Company in Sturgis. He worked for Laughlin Tool and Die (later named Sutton Tool) in 1942. In 1944, Franks and two other partners started Burr Oak Tool in Burr Oak, Mich., and moved the company to Sturgis in 1946. He worked actively in the business until he was 95, and remained on the board after that.

Franks made time to speak to high school students, and served as a member and president of the Sturgis Board of Education.

Franks is survived by two sons, Richard N. Franks and Lawrence A. (Susan) Franks; a daughter-in-law, Joyce Franks; grandchildren Deborah A. Sulcs, Linda J. Franks, Janet M. Franks, Michael W. (Rita) Franks, Newell A. (Kelley) Franks II, David L. (Joan) Franks, Lee Ann (Brian) McConnell, Willis P. Franks, and Jeffrey (Rebecca) Franks; great-grandchildren Athena (Randall) Lafferty, Diedra (Nick) Fox, Matthew Sulcs, Michelle Franks, Melissa Franks, Lucas Franks, Vincent Franks, Elizabeth (James) Whitehead, Emily (Jason) Halling, Nathan Franks, Erin Franks, Elise Franks, Erica Franks, Nicholas Franks, Noah Franks, Brennan McConnell, Corey Franks, Zachary Franks, Emma Franks, Sarah (Kyle) Klooster, Ryan Franks, Jessica Franks, and Laura Franks; great-great-grandchildren Autumn Lafferty, Zachary Lafferty, Alex Fox, Brooke Fox, Aiden Whitehead, Lauren Whitehead, and Veronica Sulcs; brother-in-law Kenneth Eugene Disler; sister-in-law Edna Belle (Dale) Augenstine; niece Virginia (Lewis) Franks Rawles; and nephew, Jack (Terryl) Franks.

In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by son, Tom Franks, grandchildren Emily Lorie Franks and Richard N. Franks, great-grandson Christopher Franks, daughters-in-law Patricia Franks and Jean Franks, and brother William Franks.

The family has requested that memorial donations be made to the First United Methodist Church, 200 Pleasant Ave., Sturgis Mich. 49091; to the Newell A. and Grace A. Franks Fund; to the Sturgis-Young Auditorium Fund; to the Sturgis Hospital Endowment Fund; or to the Kiwanis Club of Sturgis, all in care of the Sturgis Foundation, 310 N. Franks Ave., Sturgis, Mich. 49091.

Publication date:11/19/2007