Cover photo for Henry Gerhart Franke Jr.'s Obituary
Henry Gerhart Franke Jr. Profile Photo
1933 Henry 2024

Henry Gerhart Franke Jr.

April 6, 1933 — May 4, 2024

Copperas Cove

Henry Gerhart Franke, Jr., 91, of Copperas Cove, Texas, passed away on Saturday, May 4, 2024. 

Called “Bud” all his life, he was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Henry G. (“Hank”) Franke, Sr., and Marie Anna (nee Wyss) Franke on April 6, 1933.  He graduated from Central High School in Fort Wayne in 1952, and was drafted in the U.S. Army soon after in 1953.

With the Korean Conflict nearing its end, he was sent to West Germany to complete his enlistment.  Bud met his future wife, Gisela Morgenthaler, in Germany, and they were married there in 1955 just before his enlistment ended.   They moved to Fort Wayne, where he worked for the U.S. Postal Service until he rejoined the Army in 1957.  He would serve as a career Soldier until his retirement in 1985, with a total of 30 years of active service.  Bud completed a combat assignment in Vietnam from 1971 to 1972, earning the Bronze Star Medal.  His last tour was at Fort Hood (now Fort Cavazos), Texas, assigned as the First Sergeant of a combat Field Artillery Battery, and finally as the senior Noncommissioned Officer of the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery’s S-1 (Personnel) section.  He retired in Copperas Cove, where he lived for the rest of his life.  He devoted several years immediately following his retirement from the Army with fund-raising for the Killeen Firefighters Association.

Bud was a family man, raising three sons with his wife Gisela as the Army moved them to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Stuttgart, Germany; Fort Hood, Texas; Okinawa; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and back to Fort Hood.  He would be away from his family for a total of six years during his Army career.   Besides the combat tour, he was assigned as a “geographical bachelor” three times so that his family did not have to move as often and could have more stability with their schooling.  All three sons would go on to serve full careers in the U.S. Army.  Both Bud and Gisela were animal lovers all their lives.  They rescued and cared for abandoned dogs and cats for many years.   Bud also collected coins and stamps.   

With the next generations of the family also living in Texas, Bud was able to see his grandchildren grow up, graduate high school and college, marry, and have children of their own.

Bud is preceded in death by his wife Gisela, his half-brother Richard Lockhart, his brother Gene Franke, and his wife’s brother Herbert Morgenthaler.  He is survived by his children Henry III, Ronald and his wife Annette, and Thomas; his grandchildren Jennifer Rutledge and her husband Jonathan, and Christina Bell and her husband Codey; and his great-grandchildren Jacob, Grace, Caleb, Cooper, Quinn, Maggie, and Lincoln.

A private service with military honors will be held on Monday, May 13.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Henry Gerhart Franke Jr., please visit our flower store.

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Monday, May 13, 2024

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

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