Ayner Genevieve Franks was born in Ridgeland, WI on July 7, 1914, to Gary and Mildred Dawson; she passed away on September 15, 2019, in Kingsford, MI.  Ayner had an older brother, Kenneth and four younger, half siblings. Her father was a farmer, and her mother was a homemaker. Her maternal ancestors were pioneer residents of Barron and Dunn Counties, WI. They carved a homestead out of the wilderness during a tumultuous period of history, encompassing both the Indian and Civil Wars.

Ayner began her education in Ridgeland in a one-room schoolhouse but quickly advanced by skipping grades, and she attended Barron High School at a very early age. Her right leg and pelvis were crushed in an automobile accident at age seventeen. Rejecting the plan to amputate her leg, she convinced the surgeon she would walk again. She succeeded and still went for walks in her mid-nineties. In her teens, Ayner loved to dance and enjoyed being the “Belle of the Ball.” This was during the boisterous era of the 1920s and early 1930s.

Ayner met Oscar Franks in Dallas, WI. They were married on August 27, 1936, in Ironwood, MI, and returned to north central WI to raise their family in Ladysmith.  During the ensuing years, Ayner and Oscar established numerous business enterprises, including a gas station, repair shop, cab company, and an extremely successful restaurant during WWII. In 1948 they opened an automobile agence in Ladysmith, selling and servicing Hudson automobiles. Ayner was the general manager during this time.

Despite the earlier projections of not being able to have children due to her injuries, Ayner had three sons, Dr. Bruce Franks (Sharon) of Iron Mountain, MI, Dr. Terry Franks (Carol) of Rainier, WA, and Corey Franks (Linnea Perreault) of Minneapolis, MN.

After selling the Hudson Agency, Ayner and Oscar accepted positions with the senior citizen centers in Wisconisn’s north central region. Ayner went on to become the director of all senior citizen centers for Wisconsin’s Indianhead Region.

Following the loss of her husband, Oscar, Ayner ultimately moved to Iron Mountain/Kingsford, MI, the home of her eldest son. While living there, she volunteered at the Victorian Pines Nursing Home, teaching Tai-Chi and Chi Gong while in her mid-nineties. She recently celebrated her 105th birthday.

Ayner passed away in peace, the proud mother of three sons, grandmother of four, great-grandmother of eight, and great-great-grandmother of one. Her past interests include picking wild berries and making preserves and special culinary treats. She also enjoyed participating in outdoor sports such as fishing, hunting, and touring the natural wonders of the outdoors. Her life interests embrace family first, church, business successes, and friends. Ayner is survived by a half-brother (Cecil Deutsch of Rice Lake, WI) and numerous relatives in the immediate area.  A private graveside service is being held for the family.

            The Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain was in charge of the arrangements.

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(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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