Sedalia native has storied military past, community service

July 21, 2014

in Community Profile

Franklin-1By Kyle Siegel
Staff Writer

Sedalia native Carl Franklin has stayed a busy man during the course of his lifetime. From serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, to running his own construction company, to being heavily involved in the community, Franklin has rarely had a chance to catch his breath.

Franklin was born on a farm just south of Sedalia and in 1944 he graduated from Smith-Cotton. At 17 years of age, Franklin enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

“I volunteered for immediate sea duty in the South Pacific on a submarine escort ship,” Franklin said.

Franklin recalled one trip into New Guinea while escorting troop ships.

“We escorted troop ships into there before it was secure. We came in on the mountain side at Palau, New Guinea. They fired cannons out of there every once in awhile, but they missed us,” Franklin explained.

Franklin was asked if he continued to serve once the war had ended.

“As soon as the war was over I got out. I was in the South Pacific when the war was over. I left as a Seaman 1st Class,” Franklin said.

For his time during service in the Navy during WWII, Franklin received the Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal, American Area Campaign Medal, as well as the U.S. Navy Honorable Service Award.

Franklin was then asked what he did to earn a living after leaving the U.S. Navy.

“I kind of did odd jobs for awhile and then I went to work for the railroads in 1948. In the 1950s and 60s I had a construction business of my own. Back then the railroad furloughed a lot. We were furloughed from 62-65 when they built all of the missile sites. I stayed with the railroad until they closed the shop in 1986,” Franklin said.

With the exception of still doing some construction work, Franklin was retired but his work was far from over. Franklin continued to stay active in the community. While continuing to work for the railroad, Franklin served on the Sedalia City Council for 16 years beginning in 1971.

“In 1973 I served a short term as the mayor of Sedalia. There were some things in the community that I was interested in and I saw the council as a good place to do something about it,” Franklin said.

He added, “Some of the main things I worked on were transportation for the handicapped and elderly people. That was one of the things that I was most proud of,” Franklin said.

Franklin is also a lifetime member of the VFW and the American Legion.

“I joined both of those after I got out of the service,” Franklin said.

Franklin was also very instrumental in the organization of the Blind of Central Missouri.

“That was 43 years ago. I am the only charter member left. Back then you were only allowed to have ten percent of the organization sited,” Franklin said.

Franklin was asked how he became involved in the Blind of Central Missouri.

“I had a close friend that was blind and he was an active person. He did a lot of the work to get it organized. That is how I got involved. He was a good friend of mine,” Franklin explained.

Franklin continued to serve the community of Sedalia in many more ways over the course of his lifetime, including serving

as the chairman of the Show-Me Regional Planning Commission.

“It was an organization for Lafayette, Johnson and Pettis Counties. Their main duty was to help communities to organize and secure grants for water systems and airports, and to help those communities work together.

“That is where I was able to get involved in the transportation for the elderly and handicapped. I was a part of the Western Missouri Cooperative Transportation Organization. We were involved in transportation of handicapped and elderly in 16 counties.

“The original Older Adults Transportation System (OATS) was just starting in St. Louis and they served the same 16 counties we did. They came to a meeting and they wanted to merge, and I told them the only way I would ask to the board to approve it was if they would include the handicapped. They said they would,” Franklin explained.

During that time, Franklin was elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

After retirement, Franklin enjoyed traveling, fishing at his lake property and gardening.

“I enjoyed my retirement,” Franklin said with a smile.

Franklin has two sons and a daughter, three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He is also a member of the Pleasant Hill Country Church just south of town.

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