- About Us
Harold J. FranssenApril 4, 1925 ~ April 23, 2017 (age 92)
Harold J. Franssen, a lifetime resident of the Boelus area, passed away peacefully at Brookefield Park in St Paul on Sunday, April 23, 2017. He had recently celebrated his 92nd birthday.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday at Grace United Methodist Church in Boelus. Reverend Cathryn Love will officiate. Interment will follow the service in Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Grand Island with military honors by Schipman-Mogensen American Legion Post #201 of Boelus.
Lunch for family and friends will follow the committal service at 1:30 p.m. at the Boelus Civic Center.
Visitation will be on Thursday, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the church in Boelus.
Memorials are suggested to the Howard County Medical Center, Grace United Methodist or the Schipman Mogensen American Legion Post #201 of Boelus.
Jacobsen-Greenway Funeral Home in St. Paul is in charge of arrangements.
Harold was born April 4, 1925 to Herman Alfonzo Franssen and Mary Wilhelmina (Placke) Franssen, on the family farm north of Rockville. He attended Rockville rural school District 53 until the 9th grade, and graduated from Boelus High School in 1943.
Upon graduation from high school at age 18, Harold was drafted into the United States Navy. He served as a radioman on the command staff for LSM(R) Group 27 Flotilla 9 in the Pacific theatre. During the Battle of Okinawa, Harold was badly injured and narrowly missed being killed by a kamikaze attack. He was a witness to history in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, when the Japanese formally surrendered and signed the peace treaty that ended the war.
Harold received his discharge in 1946, and returned home to attend the Grand Island Business College, graduating with an accounting degree in 1947. He worked for Swift & Company, as the assistant manager for their chicken hatchery in Columbus for 1 year, followed by the manager of their hatchery in Breckenridge, MN for 2 years.
Harold returned to Boelus in 1951, to manage the chicken hatchery for H.A. Franssen & Sons. He and his younger brother “Shorty” raised chicks that were transported to their broiler facility at the Kearney Air Base. They constructed the Boelus post office building and the Farwell fertilizer plant, and managed the Gibbon grain elevator for many years.
Harold owned and managed the Boelus grain elevator and fertilizer plant. He also had his own farming enterprise, which became known as Franssen Co. Inc, and he tended to his herd of crossbred Hereford-Angus cattle.
Harold served on the Board of Directors at the Boelus State Bank, Boelus and Centura School Boards, and was a member of the original school board. He served on the Howard County Community Hospital Board, and was a member of the Grace United Methodist Church in Boelus. Harold was one of the original founders of local Cub Scout Pack 103. He was a member of the Platt-Duetsche in Grand Island. He was a lifetime member of the VFW, and a 70+ year member of the Schipman-Mogensen American Legion Post 201 in Boelus where he served as commander. He was instrumental in raising money for the clubhouse at the Boelus Ballfield. Harold proudly participated in the Heartland WWII Honor Flight to Washington D.C. in 2008.
Harold liked to fish, especially on his farm pond and along the Middle Loup River. He enjoyed boating and skiing at Sherman Dam, and his family's annual camping and fishing trip to Lake Oahe. He enjoyed bowling, playing cards, reading the Alley Oop comic strip, and riding his Honda Goldwing motorcycles. He always enjoyed getting together with his family and friends. Harold was firmly guided by his beliefs, he was steadfast in his principles, he knew the importance of hard work and determination; yet most of all — he forever kept his given word and promise to others. Harold very devoted to his family.
Harold enjoyed dancing at the Platt-Duetsche. Harold met the love of his life LaVera Mae Nitsch at a square dance in Boelus, and they were married on June 3, 1956 in Boelus. They celebrated their 50th "golden" wedding anniversary in 2006. They enjoyed site-seeing across the country in their fifth-wheel camper, traveling to Europe, riding a steamboat down the Mississippi River, and cruising to Alaska and through the Panama Canal. They enjoyed attending Harold's naval reunions.
He is survived by his one and only spouse, and true soulmate for over 60 years, LaVera Mae Franssen, along with their 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren; one daughter, Sonya Flint and her husband Glen of Springfield, NE and their 2 sons Cory and Toby of Redding CA, two sons, Jeffrey Franssen and his wife Sherri of Leavenworth Kansas, and their 2 sons Jacob of Kansas City KS, and Lucas at home and Scott Franssen and his wife Jessica of Hastings, along with their 3 daughters Elizabeth of Omaha, and Mara and Alice at home.
He is also survived by his younger sister Mary Ann Lewandowski of Coon Rapids MN, along with his sisters-in-law Denie Franssen of Litchfield and Ima Jean Kruse of Grand Island, and brother-in-law Eugene and his wife Joyce Nitsch of Boelus and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Harold was preceded in death by his parents; an infant baby; parents-in-law, Clarence and Frieda Nitsch, younger brother, Lavern "Shorty" Franssen, and brothers-in-law Mike Lewandowski and John Kruse.