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Henrietta 'Jean' Franco

June 29, 1924 - August 22, 2022
Kingsley, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Jean Franco peacefully passed away on August 22, 2022. She was 98 years old.

Jean was born June 29, 1924, in Mt. Clemens, MI to Amiel L. Duynslager and Erma L. (Dewitt) Duynslager. Jean attended St. Mary’s Catholic school in Mt Clemens, MI for elementary, middle and high school.

Jean’s first job was working at A&W as a waitress, where she served on roller skates. During World War 2, she was a hostess at the USO. Jean obtained her undergraduate at Wayne State University and then transferred to Michigan State University where she completed her master’s degree. Jean moved to Traverse City, MI in 1953 where she started her teaching career. She worked in the Migrant Program teaching English throughout the 60’s. Jean met her beloved husband, Jesse Franco, during this time and was married for 53 years. In 1971, she became the Executive Director of the Northwestern Michigan Migrant Program where she served until 2012.

No one escaped being drawn in by Jean’s smile and kindness. You couldn’t help but feel special in her presence and she was a beacon of light in every room she entered. Jean was funny and thoughtful and a staunch supporter of growth and positivity for her family, friends, and coworkers.

Jean was an educator of educators. Her husband Jesse recalls driving her all over Michigan so she could train teachers to get advanced degrees. She was an avid reader and genuinely loved her work in the migrant program. She wholly loved people and kids; close friends recall that although Jean never had biological children, she considered all the students in the migrant school her kids. Jean believed that all children deserved the opportunity to progress in life. Her passion for teaching and children inspired the official formation of the Migrant Program. She was a celebrity in her own right in the community.

As Jean neared retirement, she was taken care of by her husband Jesse. Jesse was her ideal companion. She was cared for at home through the end of her life. Even in Jean’s decline, she was still correcting the grammar of those around her, with her captivating smile on her face.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her sister; Irma Resmer; nephew, Jonathan Resmer; niece Patricia Resmer; sister, Virginia Smyk; niece, Cherie Smyk, and brother Amiel Duynslager.

She is survived by her husband, Jesse Franco; sister-in-law, Connie Duynslager; nephew, Amiel Scott Duynslager; niece, Brenda Carufel, niece, Amy (Jeff) Yager, niece, Beth (Devon) Cornelius, niece, Lisa Duynslager; nephew, Lee (Ivette) Duynslager, and many cousins and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Visitation will be held 4pm to 6:30 pm, Friday, August 26, 2022 at Life Story Funeral Home. A Rosary will be recited at 6:30 pm. A Funeral mass will be held 11 am, Saturday, August 27, 2022 at St. Mary’s Hannah Church. The family will greet friends staring at 10 am.

Cemetery Services will be held 11:30 am, Monday, August 29, 2022 in the Chapel at St. Peter Cemetery, Mt. Clemens.

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