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Monday, October 9, 2023
5:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
10:00 - 11:00am (Central time)
Eugene Franklin of Pearl passed away on Thursday, October 5, 2023.
Graveside services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at Pearl Cemetery with Pastor Charles McKamie officiating. The family will receive visitors from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday at the funeral home.
Harley Eugene Franklin was born September 26, 1929, to the late Harley Franklin and Alzie Manning Franklin in Mound, Texas. During the Depression, Eugene moved with his parents to Pearl, Texas, where he helped his dad with the cotton crops, tending to livestock, and helping other neighbors around the community pulling broom corn, etc. Eugene related on numerous occasions how he and his closest friend, Harold Oney, would run the woods on Bee House and Bullard Creeks, fishing and hunting whenever they had free time.
Eugene started school in Mound and was later enrolled in the 1st Grade at Pearl, continuing his education there until graduation. While in school, Eugene related that his Uncle Bob would pick him and his cousin Bobby Manning up so they could help run the cotton gin in Pearl. Eugene said he would run the bale press and Bobby would run the suction. He would walk home around midnight and be back at school the next day. Eugene recalled that he also tied the last bale of cotton that was ginned in Pearl. After graduation, Eugene started working outside the family farm. He told stories about his various jobs after graduation; one as a plumber’s helper in Gatesville.
With the Korean Conflict raging, Eugene was drafted into the United States Army, completing basic training and artillery training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He received orders for deployment and flew to California. From there, he moved up the west coast to Seattle to board a troop ship to Japan. Eugene recalled that he crossed Japan on a train, traveling through the area where one of the Atomic Bombs was dropped during World War II. He then traveled to Korea where his ears were badly damaged when an artillery shell exploded close enough to his jeep causing the windshield to shatter. Eugene did not talk much about his experiences in Korea and only related small excerpts in his later life. Upon returning to the United States, Eugene got a job on a rock crusher in the Temple area when the Belton Lake Dam was being built. He also related that he helped build General Bruce Drive in Temple during its initial stages. From there Eugene moved to west Texas to work on a rock crusher for Cage Brothers when they were building Interstate 10 and 20.
With the deteriorating health of his dad, Eugene was called home to help his mother. Eugene’s Dad died shortly after his return. Trying to make ends meet and support his mother, Eugene went to work in the maintenance department at the Gatesville State School for Boys. In his off-time, Eugene was a well-accomplished “Mr. Fix It” around Pearl, assisting his neighbors with whatever they asked him to repair or build. It was during this time that he met Maggie Lee Dever, whom he later married on September 1, 1968. Eugene gained two stepchildren through this marriage: Sharon Lee and Talmage Dewayne Dever. Eugene built a new home for his family only a few yards from his mother’s home, on the same land where he grew up. He enrolled in Central Texas College in Killeen, taking courses at night. He continued working for the State of Texas, and sometime later, the Superintendent came to him asking him to try his hand at teaching. With that, Eugene began teaching Welding at the school. Eugene continued in that position until the Gatesville State School for Boys was turned over to the Texas Department of Corrections. He took his skills to Waco and obtained a welding teaching position at Texas State Technical Institute, located on the old Connally Air Force Base. A few years later, Eugene transferred back to Gatesville and taught Welding at the Texas Department of Corrections.
Eugene retired in the early 1990s and began a new career working with wood and building furniture. He worked part-time in Evant, for James Inabinet, but when James’ business closed, Eugene continued to make furniture at his home. Eugene stated several times that he turned the spindles for the staircase at the old Ranger station located near Evant. He made several pieces of furniture for his own home, including a computer desk for Maggie, a roll-top desk for himself, a TV Console Cabinet, etc. He also bought a lathe and learned to make wooden bowls.
Eugene lost his wife, Maggie of 43 years, in 2012. He became a Mason during the 1970s and was a member of the Bee House Lodge, located in Evant. He served a term as Worshipful Master of the Bee House Lodge and was also a member of Eastern Star. Eugene recently received his 50-year certificate of being a Mason.
Eugene is survived by his stepchildren Sharon Lee Taylor and husband Kenneth. Dewayne Dever and his wife Melinda.