James Paul Franks, LT, USN, Ret., age 78, of Knoxville, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Wednesday evening, Nov. 23.
Jim grew up as the youngest son of 16 children of tenant farmers in West Tennessee. He joined the Navy on his 17th birthday and served 21 years, first enlisted ranks, then working his way up to officer as a nuclear engineer on nuclear and missile submarines. During that time, he was selected as the Junior Officer of the Year for the Submarine Pacific Fleet Command in Hawaii.
Upon retiring from the military, Jim worked on the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project in Oak Ridge, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in California, and Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in New Hampshire.
He was an active Christian, loving the Lord and serving him with his whole heart. His young faith was strengthen and grew steadily during 11 years of military service at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During that time he, and his wife Kay, attended Officer’s Christian Fellowship, and his family members were very active members of International Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon, visionary, and Sunday school teacher. James also had the gift of evangelism and would boldly proclaim the gospel wherever he went. At the present time, James was a faithful member of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church where he was active with the Thursday Men’s Bible Study and Friday Morning Mission Prayer Meeting. He was also a vital member of the Submarine Veterans Association and was the Smoky Mountain Sub Vet and Chaplain. After retiring from the private sector, James enjoyed traveling and going on short term mission trips throughout the world, including Thailand, Austria and Ukraine.
James was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Maude Tucker Franks; and 10 siblings, Earl, Taylor, Anna, Wayne, Imogene, John, Omby, Carl Jr., Margaret and Marie.
He is survived by his wife, Mabel “Kay” Cramblet Franks; son and daughter-in-law, Pastor Tom and Tammi Franks of Klamath Falls, Oregon; daughter and sons-in-law, Karen and Pastor Brian Welsh of Hilo, Hawaii, Paula Kay and David Hall of Dayton, Tennessee, and Beth Ann and Pastor/Missionary Eric Yodis, of Kiev, Ukraine; eight grandchildren, Tim (Alicia) Franks, Tom (Stephanie) Franks, Bethany (Christian) Andersen, Carys (Zack) Henderson, Andrew Welsh, Emily Rivera, Charity (Brandon) Butler, and Jakob (Ashley) Ricketts; two great-grandchildren, Noah and Alexa Andersen and two more soon to arrive; sisters, Jane Keating, Ruth Fisher, Martha Busby; and brothers, Len Franks and Otis Franks.
The family received friends from 1-2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church Sanctuary, with a service following at 2 p.m. Burial was at 11:30 a.m., on Thursday, Dec. 1, at East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery on Governor John Sevier Highway.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Cedar Springs World Missions, 9132 Kingston Pike Knoxville, Tenn. 37923 or Kentucky Mountain Missions, P.O. Box 588, Beattyville, Ky. 41311.