Jump to content
American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!
ypsi-slim

Founder Of Lincoln Highway Association Has Passed Away

Recommended Posts

I am sad to report that Gregory Franzwa passed away yesterday from cancer. He was 83 and was experiencing failing

health over the last year. Here is the obituary that will run in the Salt Lake Tribune tomorrow:

 

Gregory Mathew Franzwa

 

04_01_Franzwa_Gregory.jpg_20090401.jpg

 

Gregory Mathew Franzwa 1926 ~ 2009 Gregory Mathew Franzwa, 83, passed away from cancer at his home in Tooele, Utah, on March 29, 2009. He was born in Carroll, Iowa, on Feb. 27, 1926, to Fred W. and Mabel Henderson Franzwa. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and his three children: Theodore C. Francois, Hemet, Calif; Christian N. Franzwa, Lynnwood, Wash; and Patrice A. Smith, Bailey, N.C. He also leaves two brothers, Sterling "Rusty," Glidden, and Frederick A., Rochester, N.Y. His stepmother, Jane Franzwa, lives in Tucson, Arizona. He became a professional musician while a sophomore in Glidden High School, playing trumpet with local dance bands. He joined the U.S. Navy's V-5 flight training program while awaiting graduation in May 1943, and was called to active duty on October 5, 1943. He was released to inactive duty in August 1946, as a Lt. (JG), in the United States Naval Reserve. Mr. Franzwa attended Iowa State College from September 1946 to May 1947; and the State University of Iowa from February 1948 until receiving a bachelor of journalism degree in August 1950. He moved to St. Louis, MO, in October 1950, and opened his firm, Gregory M. Franzwa Public Relations in 1955, a firm which remained in business until his move to Tucson, Ariz., in 1991. He founded the highly successful Tiger Rag Forever Jazz Band in the early 1960s, and the 1926 Jazz Band, an all-star group, also in St. Louis, in the late 1970s. He joined the Old Pueblo Jazz Band in Tucson and remained its leader until moving to Tooele, Utah in 2005. His first book, "The Old Cathedral", was published by the St. Louis Archdiocese in 1965. His second, "The Story of Old Ste. Genevieve", was the first to bear the imprimatur of his firm, The Patrice Press, in 1967. "The Oregon Trail Revisited", first published in 1967, established Mr. Franzwa's reputation as a premiere scholar of the history of the covered wagon emigration to the American West. The Patrice Press continued to publish Mr. Franzwa's works, as well as that of many other scholars. In 1996 the author began his state-by-state series of hardcover books on the Lincoln Highway. The six states west of the Mississippi River are now in print with his 21st book, "The Lincoln Highway: Illinois", in process. He was the principal founder of the Oregon-California Trails Association in 1982, a group dedicated to the interpretation and preservation of the historic road. 10 years later, in October 1992, he founded the current Lincoln Highway Association, with the same purpose. He married his soulmate, Kathleen A. Colyer on Dec. 23, 2000, after a storybook romance centered on the Oregon Trail. His remains were cremated and scattered over the Oregon Trail. At his request, there will be no services.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ypsi,

 

Thanks for letting us know. He was an amazing man and his legacy lives on in his books and the lives he has touched. Those of us who love the old trails and roads will miss him a great deal. No one contributed more than he to our love, understand, knowledge, and appreciation of America's wonderful road and trail heritage.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sad news. He set a "road book" standard that I can only hope others will aim for and he's left some big shoes to fill at the Lincoln Highway Forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never met him, but am I ever familiar with the name. He must have been quite a person.

 

Thanks, Mr. Franzwa for all the "Road Effort" which I'm sure was a labor of love as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×