Charles Edward Franks
Owner/Shop Keeper, Where the Buffalo Roam, Pawnee, Oklahoma
Born: August 8, 1951, Mesa, Arizona
Died: December 6, 2021, Pawnee, Oklahoma
Known as the “Mystery Dad” by many of his children’s high school friends, Charlie actually hailed from a colorful and adventurous family. As the youngest child of parents who also bore that moniker, all four of his grandparents were born in the 1850’s. His paternal grandfather was in charge of the livestock at Fort Sam Houston and his maternal grandfather mined for gold in the Alaskan Klondike in the 1890’s and was a friend of Jack London who authored “Call of the Wild”. This inherited sense of wonder and adventure served him well when he set his path. He worked in heavy industrial construction with crews who built the Alaska Pipeline in the 1970’s and the arsenal of nuclear and coal generating power plants that dot the western United States.
Tall and lanky with a thirst for knowledge, a quick wit, and infectious laugh, he was often referred to as “The Professor” by his co-workers. And yet, his steady, determined and intense demeanor was said to have a calming effect on the men he worked with. Respected by the crewmen, more than one stated, Charlie was the only man they would let lower them down into the nuclear containment for repair. After retiring in 1994, he and his wife, Nita, opened a retail store in Pawnee, Oklahoma, known as Where the Buffalo Roam.
His life was rich with a loving family, loyal friends and a wife who loved him to the moon and back. Charlie married Annetta Kelley on December 28, 1974. Together they raised 3 daughters and 2 sons. Their life together, while not quite a fairy-tale, was filled with love and laughter. And he could dance!
He always felt his greatest accomplishment was his family and was very proud of his 5 children and 8 grandchildren.
Charlie was unrivalled in his honesty, and he treated all people with generosity and respect. As a man of faith, he embraced all truth. To his children, he was a pillar of reality.
The family will host a come and go reception on Sunday, the 12th from 12:00 – 4:00 in the Pawnee Bill's Barn in Pawnee, OK. Please come share your stories about Charlie.