Cover photo for Donnie L. Franzen's Obituary
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1943 Donnie 2024

Donnie L. Franzen

October 4, 1943 — May 30, 2024

Donnie Lee Franzen, 80, of Kearney, Nebraska, passed away Thursday, May 30, 2024, at Broadwell Senior Living in Kearney.

He was born October 4, 1943, in Gothenburg, Nebraska to John and Freda (Strickland) Franzen. He grew up in Farnam, graduating with the class of 1960.

Donnie was united in marriage to Sandy Parkhurst on June 20, 1965. They lived in Farnam, Nebraska. Four children were born into this union:  Baby Austin, Steven, Scott, and Timothy.

After graduating high school, Donnie attended McCook Junior College, where he studied Agriculture and played football. He joined the Army in 1964, where he served as a mechanic. Donnie joined the US Army Reserves in 1968 and worked at the Farnam Coop. In 1971, Donnie joined the Farnam Bank, where he held multiple roles until his retirement as President in December 2011.

One of Donnie’s passions was drag racing. He built multiple race cars, which earned him several track records for speed and elapsed time. This passion went well beyond the track, as he always worked on a new project. While he had many different cars, his favorite was always his 1963 Impala. Growing up in the small town of Farnam gave Donnie another passion for athletics.

Donnie always believed that sports were a great way to teach values. He coached many teams throughout the years, and these values are still demonstrated in his boys and the others he coached. His passion for sports was evident in his boys, who all played college football. His competitive spirit remained throughout all his years, the most recent being card games with their dear friends Dave and Julie Axman of Kearney.

Survivors include children Steven (Jacki) Franzen of Fremont, Nebraska; Scott (Melissa) Franzen of Kearney, Nebraska; and Timothy (Sara) Franzen of Parker, Colorado; six grandchildren Noah Franzen of Lincoln, Reese Franzen of Fremont, Carter Franzen of Fremont, Kealey (Franzen) and Maverick Widdowson of Shelton, Avery Franzen of Kearney, and Bella Bujanda of Parker, Colorado. Numerous nieces, nephews, extended family, and dear friends also survive.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Sandy, and baby Austin.

The memorial service to honor Donnie’s life will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Kearney, Nebraska. Pastor Tim Barone will officiate the service. Following the service, there will be a time for refreshments, allowing attendees to share their memories and support one another. Burial will be in the Farnam Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. with military honors.

The family asks that you spend time with your loved ones in lieu of flowers or memorials, as this was one of Donnie’s greatest pride.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donnie L. Franzen, please visit our flower store.


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