Baker City, Oregon
Franklin R. Lew, 87, of Baker City, died July 12, 2006, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.
At his request, there will be no funeral. A family reunion and a time to honor Franklin is being planned for August 2006.
Franklin was born Nov. 11, 1918, at Baker City to Frank and June Brown Lew, a pioneer family. He attended Baker schools and was a 1937 Baker High School graduate. He later took an accounting course from La Salle Extension University and many appraisal courses in Sacramento, Calif.
In 1939, he went to work for Douglas Aircraft in Los Angeles. It was there that he was called to full-time service with the Oregon National Guard.
He was a master sergeant in chemical warfare and was honorably discharged in September of 1945. He returned to Baker City to work at Lew Bros. Tire Shop helping his father, who had started the business with his brothers years before.
After his father died, Franklin and his cousin, Pleas Brown, purchased the tire shop. It was during this time that Franklin and Phyllis Miller were going together. They were married on Sept. 20, 1947, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Baker City.
Franklin later sold the tire shop to Pleas and moved to Alturas, Calif., where he worked in the office of Loveness Lumber Co. He then went to work for Modoc County as auditor-appraiser. He was appointed assessor in 1968, and served as assessor until he retired in 1984.
As assessor, Franklin was on the state Timber Advisory Committee, served as president of the Northern Assessors Association (consisting of 27 counties) and the Modoc County precedent-setting case involving possessory interest assessment regarding grazing and public lands at the time the Timber Yield Law came into effect whereby a timber yield tax was assessed upon timber harvest. That was also at the time Proposition 13 was passed by the California voters in June of 1978. He had many friends in the assessors association and also on the State Board of Equalization.
Franklin was a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. He was a life member of the Elks Lodge, having joined in Baker and transferring to the Alturas Lodge, No. 1756. He had the oldest in years membership at the time of his death. In Alturas, he was president of the Alturas Rifle & Pistol Club, a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a life member of the American Legion, and also active in the Kiwanis.
Franklin was also the founding president of the Eastern Oregon Powder River Sportsman Club, and built the membership up to almost 1,500. He was vice president of the Oregon State Sportsmen’s Council for one year.
His hobbies included fishing, shooting, golfing, fly tying, playing bridge and reading.
He and Phyllis moved to Klamath Falls for medical reasons, leaving Alturas after living there for 35 years. After two years in Klamath Falls, they decided to move back home to Baker City after being away for 40 years.
Franklin was preceded in death by his parents; his brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Jane Lew; his brother, Lawrence Lew; and his brother-in-law, H.W. “Bill” Miller.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Phyllis of Baker City; sisters-in-law, Frances Lew of Ceres, Calif., and Monte Miller of Walla Walla, Wash.; nephews, Larry Lew and his wife, Cheryl, of Ceres, Calif., Vaughn Lew and his wife, Glenda, of Ceres, Calif., Doug Lew and his wife, Sharon, of LaQuinta, Calif., Rusty Lew and his wife, Elizabeth, of Hawaii, Rob Miller of Baker City, LaMarr Miller of Walla Walla, Wash., and Mike Miller and his wife, Joan, of Walla Walla, Wash.; nieces, Dixie Ziemer and her husband, Larry, of Halfway, Mary Kincaid and her husband, Jerry, of Baker City, Marty Rose and her husband, Bud, of Kennewick, Wash., and Laurie Miller of Walla Walla, Wash.; a cousin, Edith Lucas, and her husband, Walter, of Danville, Calif.; and many cousins at Polson and Missoula, Mont.
He especially wanted to mention his old friend since tricycle days, Bill Kirkpatrick; an old fishing budding in Alturas, Marvin Kroepelin; and his many assessor friends, especially, Josie Johnson.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children or to the charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, July 21, 2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor