Betty Sue Sinclair Franks passed away on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at the age of 94. She was born at home to Milas Kaziah Sinclair and Minnie Ethel Sinclair in Enoree, South Carolina on November 18, 1927.
Betty’s early life was filled with family and church activities. Both sets of grandparents were farmers, and she enjoyed many days visiting them and helping to care for the gardens and animals. Her oldest and happiest memories were of her extended family’s gatherings for holidays. Betty was baptized as a child and became a member of the Baptist Church. As she grew up, she participated in numerous church youth activities and organizations, a practice she would continue into adulthood.
The family moved to East Flat Rock, North Carolina when Betty was nine. Early in fifth grade, she was tested, then promoted to sixth grade. She continued to excel academically and graduated high school at the age of 15. Betty attended Mars Hill College and earned an Associate Arts Degree in Liberal Arts, then continued her education at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and Education, and was awarded her Teaching Certificate.
Betty loved teaching and strove to pursue it for the rest of her life. She taught eighth grade in the Mars Hill schools until her marriage. Later, she volunteered as a reading tutor for second graders, then taught as a substitute for grades 1 through 6 after her own children were all in school. She also taught children in Sunday School.
Her jobs as a young person included camp counselor, and several summers at Kalmia Dairy in Hendersonville, where she did everything from dipping ice cream and making sodas to bookkeeping in the office. It was there that she met her future husband, Thomas H. Franks, Jr. who was also working there during summers. Tom and Betty were married July 8, 1950, then Betty joined Tom as he traveled throughout the southeastern states for his job. After their first child was born, Tom no longer traveled for work, but was transferred every few years, and Betty made a home for their growing family in Schenectady, New York; Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Newton, North Carolina; Conover, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Wickliffe, Ohio. After retirement, the Franks moved to Arden, North Carolina. There they became members of the Avery’s Creek United Methodist Church. Tom passed away in 2013 after he and Betty had been married for 62 years.
Everywhere she lived, Betty made friends and contributed to her community. As one of her children said, “She bloomed where she was planted.” She kept the friends made in those far-flung places, and treasured them. Betty always took a strong interest in the lives of her extended family, spending time with them whenever and as often as possible. She loved being a grandparent and always found time to shower her grandchildren with love and attention.
Throughout her life, Betty did volunteer work. She worked with the PTAs of her children’s schools, garden clubs, Band Boosters, the Asheville Buncombe County Christian Mission, and served as President of her church’s chapter of United Methodist Women for two terms. During the past few years, she participated in Linking Letters, a mentoring program for local elementary-school students.
She loved beautiful flowers and was an avid gardener. Another pastime was cooking her family’s favorite foods. She eagerly looked forward to getting together for meals with friends, family or both. In her 70s, Betty took up watercolor painting and became very accomplished. Her children vied with each other over her creations. She donated paintings to her church’s rummage sales, where they fetched high prices.
Betty embodied what it means to follow Christ’s teachings: in her marriage, as a parent and as a friend. She strove to help and encourage everyone she loved to be the best they could be. As her children say, “She walked the walk.”
Betty is survived by daughters Nancy Franks Furner and husband Stephan of Wanette, Oklahoma; Linda Franks Guthrie and husband Thomas of Durham, North Carolina; and Deborah Franks Haynes and husband Meredith of Cincinnati, Ohio; son James Sinclair Franks of Springfield, Ohio; grandchildren Travis M. Furner of Norman, Oklahoma; Lee C. Guthrie of Atlanta, Georgia; Sinclair T. Guthrie of New York City, New York; Elisabeth C. Haynes, David A. Haynes and Linny Hartmann of Cincinnati, Ohio; Patricia E. Franks of Nashville, Tennessee; and great-granddaughter Jolene Joy Haynes-Abele of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is also survived by two sisters-in-law: Dorothy B. Sinclair of Cockeysville, Maryland and Juanita T. Sinclair of Hendersonville, North Carolina. Her numerous nieces and nephews live in the Greater Asheville area as well as in communities all over the United States.
A memorial service will be held at the Ardenwoods Clubhouse, 2400 Appalachian Blvd., Arden, NC 28704 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, 2022. Graveside service will be held at Shepherd Memorial Park, 5045 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville, NC 28791 at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, May 5, 2022.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in Betty’s name may be sent to Asheville Buncombe County Christian Mission or to Avery’s Creek United Methodist Church.
Jackson Funeral Service is assisting the Franks family with the arrangements.