Billy John Franklin, age 89, passed away on Saturday January 30, 2021. At the time of his passing, Bill was surrounded by loved ones in the comfort of his home in Parks, Arkansas. Bill was born on January 21, 1932 in Boles, Arkansas to Rufus (Jim) Franklin and Pearl (Edwards) Franklin. Shortly thereafter his family moved to Parks, Arkansas, the place he would call home for the rest of his life.
Growing up, Bill worked in the log woods and on the family farm, where his love of farming began. When he returned home after serving in the U.S. Army for two years (1953-1955), he met his future wife, Patsy Gililland. They married on July 29,1956, and together began their life’s work as farmers, laboring side-by-side to create the farm where they have worked hard and lived happily for many years.
Bill loved all aspects of farm life, whether he was haying, looking after his cattle, riding horses, or just enjoying the view from his house on the hill. He planted a large garden every year until his health began to fail, and for many of those years he plowed his garden with a mule. His hard work was usually rewarded with a bountiful harvest, enough to feed his family and gladly share with friends and neighbors. In his spare time he enjoyed quail hunting and training his bird dogs. His sport of choice was baseball, and he particularly enjoyed watching the Braves play; ask him about the Braves, and he could quote stats past and present. In his later years, most mornings he could be found at the Parks store enjoying coffee with the gang and pulling pranks at every opportunity.
Bill received such joy in watching his grandchildren and great grandchildren play. When they came to visit his face would light up, as they walked into the room.
During his last years, Bill was blessed to have special caregivers, Carla Brigance, Karen Ward, Vicki House, Betty Atchley, Dawn Payne and Amber Atchley, as well as his Hospice Team. These wonderful people made his homebound time easier.
Bill leaves behind to cherish him memory, his wife of 64 years, Pat Franklin of Parks, AR, his children:Brenda and Carlton McConnell of Y-City, AR; Billy Pat and Debbie Franklin of Parks, AR. Grandpa will forever remain in the hearts of his 4 grandchildren: Shauna (McConnell) & Trent Cox; Rhys Franklin; Heather (Franklin) & Jackie Davis; Chad Franklin & Jill as well as 8 Great grandchildren: Braiden Franklin, Brycen Cox, Caleb Cox, Landon Franklin, Parker Davis, Jaxson Davis, Matthew Franklin & Aveline Franklin. Bill will be remembered as a good friend to many people.
Bill was preceded in death by his grandson, Brett McConnell; his brother, Bobby Franklin; and sister, Melbalene McCraw.
Bill's life celebration will be 2:00 p.m., Monday, February 1, 2021 at the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. John Elmore officiating. Interment will follow in the Parks Cemetery in Parks, Arkansas.
Bill's pallbearers will be: Rhys Franklin, Chad Franklin, Trent Cox, Jackie Davis, Nathan Franklin.
Bill's visitation will be Monday, February 1, 2021 from 1:15 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Waldron, Arkansas.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be mailed to 12376 Bellevue Road, Parks, AR c/o Parks Cemetery at Parks, Arkansas.
During these trying and difficult times, we must follow the guidelines we have been given to do our part to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Family and friends are welcome to attend the service but everyone must wear a mask and maintain a social distance of 6 feet apart. For those who want to view the service but can not be in attendance, the funeral service will be live streamed on our website.
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