EUREKA – Arlene Marie Franks, 59, died Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, at her home at Fair Havens Senior Living Center in Decatur.
She was born Feb. 21, 1962, in Gary, Ind., the daughter of Harold and Mary Ellen Hansell Franks.
Survivors include her father, Harold (Mary) Franks, Plainfield, Ind.; her mother, Mary Ellen Franks, Mooresville, Ind.; two sisters, Dianne (John) Neilson, Indianapolis, Ind., and Carolyn Venard, Denver, Colo.; one brother, Tom Franks, Ashville, Ky,; one stepsister, Cindy (Darold) Oty, Fort Campbell, Ky,; one stepbrother Brent Buis, Plainfield; several nieces and nephews and dear friends Scott and Vicky Woolridge, Decatur and Mike and Julie Roberts-Fronk, Pomona, Calif.
She was preceded in death by one brother, Alan Franks.
Arlene grew up in Mooresville, where she graduated from high school in 1980. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Eureka College in 1986, a master’s degree in religion from the Claremont (Calif,) School of Theology in 1989 and a master’s of divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., in 2003. That same year, she was ordained into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She was an editor/reporter with the Woodford County Journal, Eureka, from 1991 to 1997. Arlene also served as a correspondent for both the Pantagraph and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She also served as an assistant director in church relations for the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of St. Louis, a resident pastor at National City Christian Church and chaplain in resident at Georgetown University, both in Washington D.C., and manager of the Christian Church Conference Center in Bethany Beach, Del., a church camp grounds for the Capital Area Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Some of her free-lance articles appeared in Disciples World and Just Women, published by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She was a passionate advocate for mental health awareness, treatment and destigmatizing mental illness, child abuse prevention; and social justice. Arlene struggled with diabetes, depression and a number of other health issues for many years. In December 2008, she was hospitalized for a serious infection that destroyed her mitral heart valve and caused some minor strokes. Arlene retired in 2009 and moved back to Eureka, where she continued to preach and do free-lance writing. She provided pulpit supply, as she preached in parishes in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri D.C, Maryland and Virginia. In her various ministry positions, she focused on writing and communications. When she lived in Eureka, Arlene was very active in the community. She served on the Heartline board, including a term as president, the United Way Board and the hospital board. Arlene was part of the charter committee to develop and open Heart House, an offshoot of Heartline, which still serves as a shelter to both homeless and battered women. She was active at the Eureka Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as she served at various times as a deacon, elder, Sunday school teacher, youth group sponsor, worship leader, member of the chancel choir and the Christian education and worship teams as well as the Project Inasmuch committee. Arlene earned several writing awards with the WCJ through the Illinois Press Association that included first place for her column, “Frankly Speaking.”
Services will be held in the spring of 2022 at the Eureka Christian Church, Eureka.
At her request, a fund will be established at the Christian Church Foundation to benefit Week of Compassion, the emergency response ministry of the Disciples. Contributions may be mailed to the Eureka Christian Church, 302 S. Main, Eureka, 61530, with the designation “Arlene M. Franks Fund.”