Gordon William Franklin, M.D.

Date of Birth: July 11, 1921
Date of Death: February 22, 2017


Gordon William Franklin, M.D. was born Jul 11, 1921 at Mankato, MN to Horace William Franklin and Bida Belle (Osborn) Franklin and grew up on their farm near Good Thunder, MN.  He was the oldest of six children (all deceased): Donald, Clark, Marjorie, Norman, and Rilla.  Gordon graduated in 1938 from Maplewood Academy, Hutchinson, MN and later attended Union College in Lincoln, NE, and the University of West Virginia where he graduated with a pre-med degree.  He served in the military during World War II, then achieved his M.D. degree from Loma Linda University in California. 

Marjorie ("Midge") Helen (Kaldahl) Franklin, R.N. was born Feb 14, 1925 in Rolling Forks Township, MN (Glenwood area) to Clarence Leonard Kaldahl, Sr. and Jessie Florence (Forney) Kaldahl.  On the farm, Marjorie grew up as the oldest of four with siblings: Dorothy (deceased), Clarence (deceased), and Marie.  She graduated from Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, MN in 1944, continued at Union College in Nebraska and then obtained a Registered Nursing degree at White Memorial Hospital in California. 

Dr. Gordon and Midge Franklin - While in California for training, Gordon and Midge courted and on October 14, 1948, in Glendale, CA, they married and formed a partnership to serve others.  After graduation, they moved to Northome where Gordon's parents had relocated.  Together, they started the Northome Clinic, treating the first patient July 22, 1950.  Dr. Franklin served Northome and the surrounding community for many decades, in the early years working long hours to visit patients in homes during epidemics.  He also served patients at Bemidji Community Hospital and several nursing homes.  He is remembered for his mild manner and tender care which brought healing to many.  Dr. Franklin also served on the Northome Public School Board.  Dr. and Midge also helped start the Northome Nursing Home – Midge serving as Administrator, operating a facility that was a primary employer in the area.  Midge helped found the Ita-Bel-Koo Day Activity Center and she served on the Koo-tasca Mental Health Advisory Board where she was instrumental in starting a chemical dependency in-patient treatment center and a shelter for victims of domestic violence.  For a time, Midge also worked summers serving migrant healthcare needs in an area from Crookston to Owatonna. 

As life-long Seventh-day Adventists, Dr. Franklin and Midge lived their faith and served others in a variety of capacities.  In the church at Northome, Dr. Franklin served as an elder, presenting Sabbath sermons and teaching Bible studies.  Midge ministered in children's Sabbath School, leading songs, telling stories, and teaching Bible lessons.  Midge is well remembered for her work with Vacation Bible Schools where she taught nature nuggets and creative crafts and told interesting character building stories.  Dr. and Midge both sang and enjoyed music, particularly hymns – Midge, especially, had a lovely alto voice and often sang in vocal groups.  In later years, Dr. and Midge performed missionary service at the Seventh-day Adventist Clinic in Tamuning, Guam. 

They both were great naturalists and loved the northern outdoors.  They enjoyed canoeing, hiking north woods trails, and birding.  Dr. Franklin was an avid farmer and, in later years, sold his produce at the Bemidji Farmer's Market.  Midge was an expert on wild mushrooms and also loved to forage for wild berries.  She was a fantastic hostess and loved to gather friends and family to work puzzles Sabbath afternoons while stories were read. 

In the early hours of the morning of February 22, 2017, Dr. Franklin and Midge perished in their sleep when their home was consumed by fire.  They had three children, all of whom grieve the loss of their parents: Marcia of Bemidji, MN; Paul of St. Paul, MN; and Kent of Northome, MN; one granddaughter, Danielle of Bemidji, MN; and a host of extended family including Gordon's sister-in-law, Esther (Mrs. Don) Franklin of Delores, CO; Gordon's brother-in-law, Jack Walenga of Pflugerville, TX; Midge's sister Marie Buttrey of Brattleboro, VT; and Midge's sister-in-law Sylvia (Mrs. Clarence) Kaldahl of Miamisburg, Ohio.  The lives of Dr. and Midge touched many in thoughtful and caring ways - they were the embodiment of Christianity and will be mourned by many who loved them.  The Franklin family looks forward to being reunited on the resurrection day. 

A memorial celebration of life will be held for Dr. Franklin and Midge on Sunday, March 19, 2:00 p.m. at the Northome Public School, 11731 Highway 1 East, Northome with Pastor Doug Hardt officiating.  Visitation will be held one hour prior to the funeral at the school.  The service will be followed by a luncheon and time of fellowship.  Arrangements are being coordinated by Cease Family Funeral Home of Blackduck, MN.  A Facebook page named "Franklin Memories" is also available for family and friends to share their remembrances.  The family wishes to thank the community for the outpouring of support that has been such a blessing throughout this time.

Source: Submitted by Kathy Joy Parker-Parke, March 7. 2017

Lessons of the past
Hope for the future