Gustav Henry Franke

Major General

Gustav was son of G. Franke (May 7, 1852 - December 24, 1908) & Dorothea Pevestorf (November 10, 1850 - February 20, 1911).
Gustav Henry Franke - Tailor in Manning.
Born in Wisconsin in 1888: came to Carroll County in 1880s. Died in 1953.
Served during WWI and a commander during WWII.

Manning Monitor articles ------ 1943

Manning's highest ranking officer, Major General Gustav H. Franke, writes friends that he has been a patient in the Lawson General Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia, since August 5th.

He hopes to be released about October 19th. After a month or two, he expects to return to limited duty and perhaps later to full duty. He says that at this stage of the game it has been pretty tough to take but that in looking about, he feels that he is still much better off than many people.
General Franke had been in command of the Wildcat Division at Camp Rucker, Alabama. His address is Major General G.H. Franke, Ward 2A, Lawson General Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia.

Major General Franke Writes
Major General G. H. Franke, former resident of Manning, in writing to his friend. E.D. Sutherland recently, states he has been in the hospital at Atlanta, Georgia, for several weeks, but by this time is out.
He reports that nothing serious was responsible for his hospitalization. Mrs. Franke was also in the hospital for a short while for checkup.
Major General Franke expressed his pleasure in knowing that Manning was doing so much in behalf of the war drive, in sale of bonds, scrap drives and men in the service.
He also stated that the chief effort now was in winning the war and in winning the peace to follow.

Gustav H. Franke
George W. Cullum, No. 4948, March 19, 1953
West Point obituary
Died at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC

On March 24, 1953, Major General Gustav H. Franke was laid to rest at West Point, that rock-bound highland home he loved so well.

Gus Franke entered West Point with the Class of 1911 and graduated 13th in that class. His military career, a highly successful one, was brought to a sudden close in 1942. Wearing the stars of a Major General, Franke was about to embark for combat at the head of the 81st Infantry Division when a heart attack felled him and forced his retirement from active military service. Undaunted he slowly fought his way back to good health, built a beautiful home on the shores of the Atlantic in Mrytle Beach, South Carolina, and became a tireless worker and leader in the affairs of that community. Then that other great killer, cancer, ended the life of this man who had marked himself as a leader in civilian as well as in military life.

Dynamic is a word that well befits Gus Franke. Always active, he played polo until past middle age and was a top-notch football official of the South Eastern Conference at the age of forty-eight. The maintenance of a high state of physical fitness was to him a duty he owed his country. The heart attack that forced his retirement followed a strenuous trip over the obstacle course at the head of elements of his division.

He was a man of strong convictions who could never compromise where principle was involved. A proposition was either white or black to him; there were no grays in his life. He loved a battle and pitched into the closest friend when he believed that friend to be in the wrong.

After his retirement, his interest in national affairs seemed to grow steadily, and he made use of his ability as a writer to express his views on various questions. His letters, which appeared frequently in the Charlotte Observer, give a vivid picture of a man who believed in hitting the line with everything he had.

Rugged people often have the faculty of making enemies. Gus Franke had a remarkable capacity for making friends that characterized his whole life. The Howitzer of 1911 said of him: "If all the exponents of good had the magnetism for his fellows that he has, there would be much less bad in the world". Without preliminary nominations, the Class of 1911 elected its first president in 1916. When the last votes had arrived from the Philippines Franke had received so great a majority as to make his election practically unanimous. He remained Class President until 1951, when on the occasion of our fortieth reunion at West Point he asked to be relieved of his duties.

The writer of this article was appointed to the faculty of Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1948. General Franke had served there as Professor of Military Science and Tactics some 15 years before. I expected to find that older members of the Faculty would recall Franke favorably. Gradually I was to realize that this man in a period of four or five years had made his stamp not only on the college but on the town of Auburn as well. Never have I known people in so many walks of life speak with such admiration and affection of a man who had been so long gone from their midst. The solicitude of the people of Auburn for General Franke during his last illness was a tribute to a man who loved his neighbor.

But to have known this man at his finest, one must have seen him in his home. Gus Franke married Mildred (Mike) McKee of Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1912. Gus acted wisely, for in the remaining forty-one years of his life he found that this sweetheart of his youth never failed to be an inspirational helper, a wise counselor, a congenial companion and a devoted wife. The marriage was blessed by two daughters and a son, all of whom married early in life. Gus was proud of his lovely girls and of his son Gus Jr., Major of Field Artillery, who was twice decorated for bravery on the field of battle in the early days of the Korean War. He loved them and the nine grandchildren they brought him with a deep devotion, and the happiest days of his later years were those on which he gathered as many as possible of them around him in his home. One could not attend one of these reunions without feeling that a God-fearing man was receiving the crowning reward of a Christian father.

General Franke was a battle-tested veteran of World War I. He was a man whose professional competence was of the highest order. He was a born leader of men. There seems little doubt that, but for an unkind fate, his name would now be listed among the great military leaders of World War II. Yet he never complained of that fate, but kept on living his old unselfish life, preoccupied always with thoughts of his family and friends. Particularly was this true during the last year of his life, when he knew of the terrible malady with which he was afflicted. Even when informed that he had but a few days to live his thoughts were still of his fellow men. "No flowers," he requested his friends, "please send the money you would spend on them to the Damon Runyan Cancer Fund."

Truly a great man has gone to his Creator.
J.B. Crawford

G. & Dorothea Franke are buried in the Manning Cemetery.
Gustav Henry Franke headstone in the Manning Cemetery.
Section C Row #41 north to south.

Gustav Henry Franke Interment: West Point, N.Y.