Gerald “Jerry” Van Franklin was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 1, 1945. He peacefully passed with his wife and two daughters by his side on October 17, 2021 at the age of 76.
He is survived by his wife Eileen Hillengas Franklin; daughters Karen Franklin and Angela Sine-Paparella; grandchildren Casey Carter, Andrew Sine, Mitchell Young, and Sydnie Sine; great-grandson Donovan Carter-Gomezjurado; and siblings Gene Franklin and Melanie Fields.
Jerry spent his early years in rural Georgia before moving to St. Pete, Florida in his teens. He went to work bagging groceries before enlisting in the Army one day after his 18th birthday. While enlisted, he was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany where he attended NCO Academy. He quickly rose in rank to Sergeant E5 and was honorably discharged in July 1966.
Back in civilian life, he had bigger and better ideas thus his entrepreneurial journey began. His first business was Franklin Auto Beauty Salon in partnership with his brothers. He later branched off to start Franklin Auto Sales in Bradenton, Florida.
He was an avid pool shooter and pioneered the first Manatee County pool league in 1971. In 1973, he and his wife, with their daughters, returned to St. Pete after landing an account with Charlie Harris Pontiac detailing new and used cars. Several years later, they started their own business selling auto paint and body shop supplies first as Car Care Supply in Pinellas Park then Southwest Industries in Tampa.
In 1990, they left the big city for small-town life in Live Oak, Florida. They operated a vending business, began and operated Suwanee County pool and dart leagues, and successfully ran and leased bars.
The overriding theme of his life was that he was hard working, determined, triumphant, and, undoubtedly, a great provider. Even within the last week of his journey, he successfully made his last bargain.
Please join us in celebrating Jerry’s Journey at 2:00pm on Sunday, November 7, 2021 at Red Roof Bar, 9202 CR 136, Live Oak, FL 32060. His last hoorah.
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