Obituary: Bennie E. Franklin


Bennie E. Franklin

July 6, 1948 to December 1, 2017

Bennie E. Franklin, 69, passed away on Friday, December 1, 2017 in Yuma, Arizona. He was born in Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, on July 6, 1948, to Boyer Franklin and Beatrice Jackson. Boyer passed away when Bennie was a just a toddler, and Bennie was fortunate to have Elvin Jackson as a loving stepfather.

Bennie attended school in Brawley and graduated from Brawley Union High School in 1967. He also attended Imperial Valley College.

On September 7, 1968, Bennie married the love of his life, Janice Kay Brown at Western Avenue Baptist Church in Brawley, California.  Bennie and Janice had been friends since their childhood years.  They shared thirty-six beautiful years of marriage together until Janice’s death in 2005.  Sadly in 1970, Bennie and Janice lost their infant son, David Scott Franklin at birth.  However, they were later blessed with their daughter, Julie Ann and son, David Matthew.

Bennie’s first career was as a fire fighter for the El Centro Naval Air Facility.  In 1970, he was drafted into the United States Army and proudly served his country in Vietnam.  He was humble and never desired recognition for his dedication to his comrades, and he saved many lives by volunteering to fly dangerous helicopter missions in order to rescue wounded and stranded troops.

After serving in the military, Bennie began his career with the United States Customs Service at the Calexico Port of Entry and earned a supervisor position with a GS 13 ranking. In 1981, he transferred to the New Orleans Port of Entry in Louisiana.  Three years later, he transferred to the San Luis Port of Entry in Arizona where he remained until his retirement in 2005.

Family was the most important thing in Bennie’s life.  He genuinely enjoyed traveling and creating cherished family memories with his loved ones.  Additionally, he had a kind and generous heart for all.  He would drop everything in a moments notice to help a family member, friend or stranger.

Bennie is preceded in death by  his mother and stepfather, his in-laws, Estel and Bernice Brown, who considered him a son and his brother-in-law Robert Manley.

Bennie is survived by his loving significant other, Donna Lahaise, his daughter, Julie Ann Wilcher, his son, David Matthew Franklin, his sister Wanda Manley, his grandchildren, Ashley Rivers, Brandon Wilcher, Kaitlyn Wilcher and Chloe Lazaro. He is also survived by his brothers in-law, Ronald (Patricia) Brown, Larry (Mallika) Brown, sister-in-law Mary (Danny) Hall, and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation for Bennie E. Franklin will be Monday Dec. 18, from 9-10:00 a.m  at Frye Chapel and Mortuary.  Burial service will be 10:30 a.m. at Riverview Cemetery.