Rev. A. Howell Franklin

Published 5:28 pm Monday, March 21, 2022

The Rev. A. Howell Franklin, 83 of Lynchburg, died Sunday, March 20.

He was the husband of the late Martha Barksdale Franklin. He was born April 1, 1938, to John R. Franklin and Doreen Smith Franklin. His father was owner and manager of S.H. Franklin’s Men’s Clothing Store, and his mother taught mathematics at E.C. Glass High School for many years.

He attended public schools in Lynchburg: Garland-Rhodes Elementary School, Robert E. Lee Junior High and E.C. Glass High School. There he ran track, was co-editor of the weekly newspaper “High Times” his senior year and was a member of the National Honor Society. He graduated from E.C. Glass in the class of 1956.

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After receiving a B.A. Degree in psychology from the University of Virginia, he was commissioned an Ensign as a regular officer in the United States Navy. During his tour in the Navy, he was the Communications Officer, Assistant Operations Officer and Top Secret Security Officer on the USS Waldo County and the USS Compass Island. It was during this time that the USS Compass Island helped develop a satellite navigational system, which today is known as the Global Positioning System. Before being honorably discharged from the Navy, Reverend Franklin was advanced to the rank of full Lieutenant, USN.

Following his naval tour, he answered the call into the Christian ministry by enrolling in seminary. In 1969, he earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Union Theological Seminary and PSCE in Richmond. He also became a Master Mason. As an Ordained Elder in the Virginia Annual Conference, he served United Methodist Churches across the Commonwealth for 34 years. His pastorates included West Campbell Charge and Forest Road in the Lynchburg area and Powhatan and Blackstone outside of Richmond.

Other churches Reverend A. Howell Franklin served were in Virginia Beach, South Hill, South Boston, Salem and Buena Vista. His greatest love in the ministry was evangelism and he preached numerous revivals during his career.

In June 2003, Rev. Franklin and his wife, Martha Barksdale Carter, moved into their home in Lynchburg, which they had purchased fifteen years earlier for retirement. In retirement, he enjoyed traveling, swimming, hiking and reading.

Rev. A. Howell Franklin is survived by sister and brother-in-law, Faith and Johnny Bridges of Tucson, Arizona; nephews, John Franklin Bridges and Benjamin Howell Bridges; niece, Virginia Bridges Carroll; a special friend, Sharon Cash; Sharon’s grandchildren, Bri, River and Mason; Sharon’s other family members and all the wonderful friends he and Martha made while living in Lynchburg and throughout Virginia.

A funeral service will be held in the Chapel of Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg on Friday, March 25, at 11 a.m. Visitation will take place one hour prior to the service.

Interment will follow at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Rice, at 2 p.m.

Thank you to all the staff at Westminster for the care given to him over the last years, especially the staff of Heartford 6th Floor and Westminster Hospice.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.

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