You’ll find several posts on this site authored by Gerald Franz. Let me tell you a little about him because I want you to understand what he meant to me. I think you’ll agree samples of his writing deserve to be included here.
Gerald Franz (1935-2014) was like a second father to me. The influence he had on me and my family is immeasurable.
We became acquainted in the summer of 1987, and a long distance friendship flourished. I was humbled and honored when he and his wife Janie moved from Cincinnati to be near my family in Missouri in 1993.
Sadly, Janie–14 years younger than Gerald–died of cancer in 2005. In 2012 my wife and I became his caretakers for two years after he had a stroke and heart attack. He died of a slow form of leukemia.
Brilliant and eccentric with many interests, Gerald fit the profile of being gifted. Though I claim to share musings of an eclectic pilgrim on this site, he was the true eclectic pilgrim.
As a Bible believing Christian , his favorite Bible subject was prophecy, which he thoroughly studied and taught at a church in the 1980’s. He longed for more opportunities to teach the Scriptures than what he had in his later years. Writing became his main vehicle for teaching.
Gerald was good at helping me sort out my thoughts because I could talk to him about so many things. I can’t talk to anyone else about most of those things today. It was reassuring to know that, even when others didn’t see things as I do, he was there to either back me up, or at least talk to.
I can’t imagine ever knowing anyone else like Gerald. He opened my mind to many new things and helped me embark on so many new experiences I likely wouldn’t have taken on myself.
I’m sure others thought I was too dependent on him. Perhaps, but I began separating myself from him in the aftermath of his stroke. That was partly because he wasn’t quite the same after all he’d been through.
Knowing he wouldn’t be around for the rest of my life, it was time for me to grow a pair, as the expression goes. Besides, when he was recovering from his stroke in the hospital, he passed the torch by declaring he was appointing me to be the “new old man.”
Since Gerald left this earthly life, I’ve been doing what one book on grief refers to in its subtitle–relearning the world. Time and much contemplation combine to give new perspective on many things. I see more clearly where he was right and wrong.
As someone who often gave me what my dad called “constructive criticism,” Gerald might not approve of changes I’ve made in my thinking and actions after his passing. But he’s not here to debate with. I often wish he were.
I miss the friendship and freedom we had together. He was patient with me–or at least most of the time. He allowed me to be ignorant and not be ashamed of it. That’s because he could always either teach me about something or point the way for me to find answers.
We both agreed ignorance is folly, but it’s OK to be vulnerable enough to admit when you are indeed in need of enlightenment. Why put up self-imposed roadblocks to learning?
He had more of an impact on the lives of the people he touched than he thought. None of us can forget him. It will be fascinating to see how God rewards him in heaven.
In fact, what will we each be rewarded for? He and I pondered this during one of our last visits together. Wouldn’t each one of us do well to be more eternally oriented and Christ-centered?
Gerald contributed a number of pieces to my blog site on preparedness. I’ve moved several to this site because they’re off the beaten path when it comes to the typical writing we see on survival. And, as I look back, I’m not sure how well they fit into that site. I put them there out of respect for him. I put them here for the same reason.
As you read his pieces in the Survival category here, you’ll see how varied and unusual his ideas were. I can’t claim they were always practical or realistic. If you try any of his recommendations, you do so completely at your own risk.
Gerald had a different way of seeing things. Because his ideas might be seen as radical by some, he didn’t want anyone to know he was the writer. He wrote under a couple of pseudonyms.
For example, he wrote letters for my survival site as if they were from Karl to a friend named George Prell. They’re infused with autobiographic tidbits.
I hasten to add that Gerald wrote hundreds of pieces on much more than survival. His creatively written Bible teachings and personal observations appear at The Last Robin.
By including some of his writings here, I hope to give you a hint of what he was like. He was constantly trying to make people break out of conventional thinking.
To get a fuller understanding of who Gerald was and the kind of powerful influence he had, please read a piece I completed the day after he died. It’s called “…He Being Dead Yet Speaketh”.
I invite you to get a glimpse into what the life of this gifted man of God meant to me and many others.