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Former city clerk dieds

“He was not just a father to me. He was my coach, my mentor — to me he was a hero,” said Craig Franklin of his dad, Andrew “A.L.” “Skip” Franklin, former Picayune city clerk and city manager, who died last Tuesday in Slidell, La. In his last years, he struggled mightily with a long-standing illness according to his son, and he never once complained. “He was a tough old bird,” said the younger Franklin.

Shortly after he was born in Ethelsville, Ala., A.L. Franklin’s family moved to Columbia where he would attend high school.

After high school, he joined the military. He was in the U.S. Air Force for two and a half years. He then decided to return to school. In the 1953, he graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in accounting.

With degree fresh in hand, Franklin moved to Pearl River County and took a job as the accountant for the City of Picayune.

In 1957, he served as the City Clerk of Picayune, and in 1973, he became City Manager for his first “term.” With the exception of a brief transitionary period when he worked for the City of Bay St. Louis, 1979-’84, he worked for the city of Picayune until his retirement, 1989.

Craig Franklin said his dad loved the community, loved the city, and even though he wasn’t a native, he would never live anywhere else. “It became his home.”

A.L. Franklin was involved with many civic clubs in the community, such as Rotary and Lions, and in 1954 he became one of the founding members of the Millbrook Country Club, of which he was also the longest standing member. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Picayune.

The things that Craig Franklin remembers the most about his dad was his devotion to youth of the community and his devotion to sports and how the two seemed to go hand and hand for his dad.

In addition to playing baseball at USM, Craig Franklin said his dad spent countless hours on ball fields with the young people of the community. He loved coaching Little League.

“Most of (Friendship Park) was not there when he started working with the youth,” said Craig Franklin. “He was one of the driving forces of getting that park developed. He spent a lot of his own time doing that.”

As his own children got older, A.L. Franklin continued to work with the youth. It wasn’t until his children were in high school that he quit working with sports. Craig said it was extremely important to his dad that he had time to watch his own children play ball.

Craig Franklin says that since his dad’s death, he has received countless e-mails, texts and calls from people who say that his dad was so good to them. He helped people with many aspects of their lives. “He did what he could and that his what I’m most proud of,” said Craig Franklin.

District 5 Councilman Jerry Bounds sent an e-mail to the Item stating, “Mr. A.L. was someone I admired and I always enjoyed spending time with him. He was the City Manager of Picayune when my Father was Chief of Police. The City of Picayune was fortunate to have a man that gave so much to our community and he will be missed.”

A.L. Franklin is survived by his wife, Jacquelyn Dazet Franklin of Picayune; two sons, A. Craig Franklin of Picayune and Mark Franklin of Carriere; his daughter, Lynn Wylie of Abita Springs, La.; his step-son, Everard “Rocky” Dazet of Gray, La.; his step-daughter, Allison Dazet of Picayune; seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Visitation is 6-9 p.m. today, and 9-10 a.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Picayune.