Robert “Bob” Charles Franz

Robert “Bob” Charles Franz, 71, passed away on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at Bridge Haven-Opas House in Lawrence, KS. While we feel great sadness at his loss, we have profound gratitude for his release from his long journey with Lewy Body Dementia. It was not a quick or easy way to fade, not for him, and not for his beloved family, but there is nothing more true than this: how extraordinarily lucky we were to have known him.

Bob was born on November 28, 1950, in Wichita, KS, the son of Menno B. and Velma (Thiessen) Franz. He was a graduate of Wichita North High School in 1968. He attended Tabor College and received his bachelor’s in Social Work. Bob then attended the University of Kansas and earned a Master’s degree in social work. He dedicated himself to helping children and their families in the public school setting. Bob began working for the Lawrence Public Schools in the mid 1970s. Over his 35 years, Bob worked in many different elementary and middle schools throughout the district. His calm and kind manner helped to develop the Crisis Response Team. After retiring in 2011, he continued to be of service to others at Trinity Home Health, providing companion care to those in need. He married Carleen Buller on June 17, 1972, in Henderson, NE, nearly reaching the milestone of 50 years of marriage. The couple welcomed two children, Adam Christopher in 1980, and Katherine Sara in 1985.

Bob was defined by his love for family and friends. He lived a life of service to others working as a social worker in the public schools for 35 years, teaching junior high Sunday School, and serving on numerous committees and boards in his church and in his community. Bob was known for his ability to calm any fretting baby, play competitive golf, cook a gourmet meal, and entertain us all with his beautiful tenor voice. Bob participated in the Motet Singers, the Lawrence Civic Choir, and his church choir. But his greatest love was to sing in the East Hills Singers, an outreach of the Arts in Prison program. He was dedicated to the rehabilitation efforts for prisoners through artistic expression. He will be remembered for the twinkle in his eye, his mischievous laugh, and joy for life.

Survivors include his wife of nearly 50 years, Carleen, daughter, Katie (Jake) Fisher, son, Adam, (Jessica) Franz, sisters, Barbara (Myron) Toews, Mary Franz (Robert Ferro), and one granddaughter, Etta Jane Fisher. He is also survived by his loving extended family and a host of wonderful friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A celebration of life will be held on Friday, July 1st, from 5pm-7pm, with a service of remembrance at 5:30pm at Arterra Event Gallery, 2161 Quail Creek Drive Lawrence, KS 66047.

In the last year of his life, the staff of Bridge Haven became Bob’s second family and we would like to thank them and the Ascend Hospice care nurses and staff for their loving and compassionate care.

Memorial contributions may be made in Bob’s name to Lewy Body Dementia or Mennonite Central Committee or East Hills Singers/Arts in Prison and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

18 Condolences

  1. Wayland & Patsy Lankford on June 10, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    Patsy and I have many happy memories from the time we rode the train together with you, Bob & Adam on a trip to New Mexico, to the many times we dined out together. You have truly honored him with the beautiful obituary. May God continuously bathe you and your family in His love in the days ahead.

  2. Mary Whitaker Davidson on June 11, 2022 at 7:31 am

    I worked with Bob at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School. He worked with the special education students needing social work services. He was an excellent support to the special education team and the whole staff. He was often sought for guidance on many occasions by many staff and administration. The students responded well to his personality as he listened well and was calm and caring. I appreciated his experience, intelligence, and help. He was an appreciated coworker and friend. Your family is in my prayers.

  3. Joshua Fisher Family on June 11, 2022 at 10:23 am

    What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. We pray for your peace and healing and send our love.

  4. Janeal Krehbiel on June 11, 2022 at 11:01 am

    Bob had one of the most beautiful tenor voices. We were so happy when he joined Crescendo Choir.
    He had a dry sense of humor and a good laugh. He was simply a decent human being. Etta will remember the special relationship they had. Your children will carry on his kindness and care for the people he loved to help. Carleen, you were a perfect partner for him.

  5. Dinah on June 11, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Sending love, hugs, and prayers. Remember his gentleness and smile whenever we met.

  6. Michelle Hostetler on June 11, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    I am very sorry to hear of Bob’s passing and especially his struggle with such an unforgiving illness. Your tribute to him is beautiful. I pray for your peace as you navigate this new season of your lives.

  7. John (Phil) Esau on June 13, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Pat and I are so sorry for the loss of such a kind, gentle, and gifted friend. I (Phil) did not know Bob well (something I regret since he is my 2nd cousin) but greatly enjoyed the association through church and in being blessed by has amazing singing voice and the personal way he delivered the music. I so vividly remember a memorial service in a black congregation, for a man well known to us at SHMC, and the way Bob ministered in song in a church setting so different from ours. He was truly inclusive in his associations, and celebrated diversity (my observation). We sorrow with the family in the loss of Bob.

  8. Elvera J Johnson on June 13, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Carleen and family,
    I appreciated Bob’s contribution in choir. I felt some connection to him as a social worker. I remember his help to our congregation when we lost a young member to suicide. Katie and Heidi were in youth group together. What a lovely tribute to Bob in the obituary.
    Elvera Johnson

  9. Jolene Pearson on June 13, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. I worked with him at Prairie Park and truly enjoyed our conversations. Bob was a wonderful man. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

  10. Michele Berg on June 14, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Beautiful obit that captures Bob’s lovely spirit. He contributed so much and will be remembered gratefully by many. So sorry Bob and his family had to endure his terrible illness. Sending love and prayers,

  11. Lesa Frantz on June 14, 2022 at 11:59 am

    Bob was a special man- one of the finest I’ve ever known. I had the pleasure of working with him at Pinckney School. He truly loved his family- and glowed with pride when talking about Carleen and his kids. I am so sorry.

  12. Larry D Dixon on June 15, 2022 at 11:36 am

    Carleen, Adam and Jessica, Jake and Katie and Etta,

    Janet and I express our deepest sympathy after the passing of Bob. Many persons thought the world of him! May our Comforting Creator provide you comfort and solace as you grieve his absence, and may friends and family be supportive also. You are in our prayers.

  13. Lila and John Bartel on June 17, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Carleen, I am writing this on your 50th wedding anniversary. I am doing so with great sympathy for the loss of Bob and also for strong feelings of love for Bob and appreciation of the love your family shows to each other and those around you.

    Blessings and many wonderful memories of one of the most caring, kind, and considerate individuals I have known.
    Heartful sympathy and blessed memories from John and Lila Bartel

  14. Beth Harrison on June 20, 2022 at 10:04 am

    I had the privilege to sing with Bob for several years in the Lawrence Motet Singers. It was always a treat when he had a solo part in one of our performances. I am so glad I had the opportunity to know this very special man.

  15. Mary Lou Almanza on June 21, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    I am saddened to see where Bob has passed away! I worked with Bob at Central/LMCMS for many years. He was our Social Worker and touched many lives!
    I truly enjoyed working and chatting with him. I am thankful I got to know Bob, he was a compassionate person and friend. He truly loved his family!
    Thoughts and prayers for Carlene, Adam, Katie and family at this difficult time!
    He will be missed!

  16. Myron L Toews on June 22, 2022 at 9:12 am

    He was a great brother-in-law for me; I could add a story or two, but not here!

  17. Trudy Odle on June 23, 2022 at 10:31 am

    Sending heartfelt prayers and love to all of you. After enduring “the long goodbye” with Bob, especially through these lasts months, I pray that you can rest and allow yourselves time to grieve and reflect. Who Bob was throughout his active life has left such a legacy of gentle warmth, a deep and generous heart for others, and a rich treasure of beautiful personal gifts. He loved people, golf, KU basketball, and singing. He shared himself and his gifts openly, including his beautiful singing voice. He was a loyal and devoted friend to so many. Most of all, he deeply and whole-heartedly loved his family. The pain of his ending was so difficult–but only a small part, in retrospect, of a beautiful life well-lived. He will be so missed by those who knew and loved him.

  18. John Leslie Thiessen on June 30, 2022 at 10:31 am

    To all the wonderful family. Bob will always be such a pleasant memory. His voice,his laugh, sense of humor sticks in my brain and makes me chuckle. A lot of this comes from his parents, whom I absolutely adored. Thank you Bob for being a great part of this great family

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