January 10, 2017

Eleanor Lou Francke

eleanor-francke-002Eleanor Lou Francke was born November 21, 1930, to John Victor and Erna (VonSeggren) Erickson at Scribner, Nebraska.  She was a lifelong Lutheran, baptized at St John Lutheran Church, Scribner, and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran in Pender, NE.  Eleanor married Gervase H Francke, her college sweetheart, in 1953.  Eleanor was educated in District 21, a one-room school.  She was elected governor of Girls’ State while attending Wisner High School, and named Valedictorian of her 1948 graduating class. Eleanor attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where she was initiated into Mortar Board and graduated with a BS in Home Economics/Education in 1952. She was then employed by International Harvester in Iowa as a home economist.  Eleanor later received an MS degree and a Doctorate in Secondary Education from UNL in 1967 and 1971.  Eleanor was employed by the Lincoln Public Schools where her career spanned four decades beginning in 1961 until her retirement in 1998.  She taught English at Irving and Mickle Junior High Schools and at East High. She transitioned to administrative roles in 1973, first in the Instruction Department, and then with the English as a Second Language Program, directing the ESL Program from 1991-1998.  She received the prestigious Scottish Rite Teacher of the Year Award in 1967, while teaching at Irving.

Eleanor was active in many community and civic activities including the New American Task Force, helping immigrants and refugees in the Lincoln community; and the Lancaster County Planning Commission from 1984-1995. Through her generosity and vision, Eleanor brought one of the most remarkable firsthand encounters to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in the creation of Laura’s Butterfly Pavilion.

Eleanor was preceded in death by her husband, Gervase, in 1983. She will be missed by many friends and family and is survived by brother, John Erickson, sister Joan Diedrichsen, nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 14, at Wyuka Funeral Home, 3600 “O” Street, Lincoln. Memorials in lieu of flowers may be given to LPS Backpack Extra Mile Walk, c/o Food Bank of Lincoln, 4840 Doris Bair Circle, Suite A, Lincoln, NE, 68504


  1. Eleanor was a ray of sunshine who brought so much joy to others and meaning to our days. She never ceased to tell her care-givers thank you for all things big and small. We shared laughs and tears. I am so grateful to have known this very special lady who made a great impact on my life. Thank you for sharing your precious sister with us at Eastmont!

  2. John and Joan:

    Eleanor was quite a lady and she did so much to help others. I remember working with her to establish the charitable remainder trust that will eventually benefit the Lincoln Children’s Zoo with improvements to the Butterfly Pavilion. I helped her with her taxes for many years and I truly enjoyed her many kindnesses. I was saddened when she had a stroke and the struggles she had overcoming it. John I enjoyed meeting with you on several occasions when you visited Eleanor in Lincoln. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Joan at this difficult time. Eleanor contributed much to Lincoln and she will be greatly missed.


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