MEREDITH— Almost a year after his wife of 77 years Agnes celebrated her 100th birthday on election day, George Franklin this week also celebrated reaching the century mark with ice cream, cake and song at the Meredith Colony Club.
Franklin grew up on a dairy farm in Jefferson , New York, but when tuberculosis claimed the herd the family moved to Johnson City, near Binghamton, where he worked at the Endicott-Johnson Corporation (EJ), the country's largest manufacturer of shoes and boots, then became a toolmaker at the IBM plant in nearby Endicott, where one of his innovations spared the company $1-million in unnecessary costs.
The Franklins first met at a Baptist church service. Agnes, who came to America from Belfast as a girl of 14, served as a housekeeper to one of the executives of EJ. Franklin's sister spotted Agnes at church and told her brother there was girl there he might fancy. Agnes recalled that a week later he came to church and kept looking at her while George insists she had her eye on him, but confessed to winking at her.
"He married me," Agnes remarked, explaining the couple's secret to long life, and "I put up with him all these years," she added, explaining the longevity of their marriage. The Franklins have two children, five grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren, nine of them boys.
Their son, Don Franklin of Hebron, said that his parents lived in Endicott, in a house his father all but built and carefully maintained, until three years ago when they came to Meredith after George suffered a stroke and a fall. Although the assisted living units are designed for one person, he said that a doorway was opened to join two units so that the Franklins could live together as one as they had for three-quarters of a century.
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