Sheryl Franklin Swanson

by Joanne Franklin and the Family

Sheryl Franklin distinguished herself each step of the way from Minneapolis to Willmar, Minnesota, back to Minneapolis and on to North Park College in Chicago, graduating in 1964. In 1965 she married Curtis Swanson. After graduate school at the University of Illinois, they moved to Michigan. Sheryl served as principle of an elementary school in Utica, Michigan, for more than 20 years.

She is survived by her husband, two daughters, five grandchildren, a brother, two sisters, and her mother, Esther Franklin. Her sister-in-law, Jo Franklin, also an educator wrote:

When Sheryl and I talked about our role and responsibility as school administrators to help young people become accomplished teachers, to plan lessons which have meaning for kids, she told me: “These children are American’s next thinkers and workers. They deserve the best we can give them.” Sheryl cared fervently about what happened in each classroom in her building. Do you know how special this is?

I don’t think Sheryl always knew how much of an effect she had as a person upon other people. She saw what needed to be done, then set about doing it, giving us an example.

One young man who came to her funeral service in Detroit told Sheryl’s husband, Curt, “Your wife turned me around at a young age, and today I am a lawyer in Warren, Michigan.”

She helped children take school seriously and she also got involved in their lives when she saw they needed help:

she drove kids home after school when they missed the bus,

she bought food for a hungry family when the parents lost their jobs,

she arranged for space heaters in a trailer park during a hard winter,

she talked intensely with misbehaving children sent to her office,

she then praised their good behavior when she saw it.

When we both retired from our school jobs, I told her once how her career as an educator had affected my life as an educator. She just smiled and shook her head. I hope she knew it was as true for me, as for all the teachers she has worked with for almost four decades. And it is clearly a tribute to her and to Curt, that both of their children, Valerie and Meredith, trained to become teachers and are currently working as educators in Michigan and Indiana! BRAVA!!!

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