Francke Sr., G. Stewart, Point Lookout, Michigan, Formerly of Saginaw, MI

Died peacefully at his home in Point Lookout, Michigan, on Friday, July 30, 2010. Stew Francke was born Feb. 21, 1924, in Saginaw, Michigan, to the late Leonard N. and Marion (Hawkins) Francke. He graduated from Saginaw High School, where he captained the 1942 State Championship basketball team. On March 28, 1945, Stew married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Katherine (Kay) Weadock; she preceded him in death in February 2008. He served during World War II in the Army Air Corps. After the war, Stew served in the Reserves until 1953, retiring at the rank of Captain. He attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in History. Stew served on the Saginaw City Council from 1959 to 1965 and was twice named Mayor. He was a champion of civil rights. Stew’s resolution for equal rights was adopted by the Michigan Conference of Mayors in Oct. 1963. Stew served as chairman of the United Negro College Fund Regional Campaign from 1963-1965. He was an aggressive advocate for metropolitan government. In cooperation with his fellow council members, Stew helped in the creation of multiple city parks, the construction of the Saginaw Civic Center, paving of all city roads, building of the Holland Street Bridge and completion of the fire station replacement program. One of Mayor Francke’s proudest achievements was accomplished with his wife, Kay. With her husband’s support, Kay led a group of Saginaw women in the creation, financing and construction of the Saginaw Children’s Zoo. Stew and Kay helped establish Saginaw’s Sister City relationship with Tokushima, Japan, and traveled to Tokushima as Saginaw’s first emissaries. Stew retired from General Motors Corporation in 1989. While serving as Director of Government and Industry Relations, Stew led the big three automakers in an initiative to pass seat belt laws across the country. He also worked for many years at Draper Chevrolet, served as President of the Michigan State University Alumni Club, Director of the Michigan Conference of Mayors, President of the Michigan Municipal League and sat on the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation Board. On July 12, 2010, Stew was honored by the Saginaw City Council for his service and commitment to the city by renaming the Holland Street Bridge in his memory. To those that knew and loved him, he was a man of unmatched grace, wit, kindness, purpose and love, a giant spirit among us. Surviving are his children: Martha (John) Humphreys, Kit (Jamie) Reece, and Stewart (Julia) Francke; much beloved grandchildren: Elizabeth (Jeff) Woods, Cullen Humphreys, Tess and Stewie Francke, Sydney and Maggie Reece; brothers: Leonard N. Francke and Chester A. Francke; a special niece, Katherine M. Brown; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by two sisters: Helene Fritz and Marion Quesnel. Funeral Liturgy will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 4, 2010, at St. Stephen Catholic Church, 1310 Malzahn. Rev. Fr. James G. Heller will officiate. A private committal will take place at the Sims Cemetery near Au Gres. Friends are welcome to visit with the family at the Deisler Funeral Home, 2233 Hemmeter Road (off State) on Tuesday, August 3, 2010, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. A vigil service will take place on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. Stew will then lie in state at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to St. Mary’s of Michigan Hospital Foundation. Please share your thoughts and memories with the family at the funeral home, church or through www.deislerfuneralhome.com.