Arlene Marie Franks, 59, of Decatur, IL, died on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2021, at her home at Fair Havens Senior Living Center in Decatur.
She was born in February of 1962 in Gary, Indiana, the daughter of Harold and Mary Ellen Franks. She grew up in Mooresville, IN. She is survived by her mother, Mary Ellen Franks of Mooresville, IN, her father, Harold (Mary) Franks of Plainfield, IN, sisters Dianne (John) Neilson, Indianapolis, Carolyn Venard, Denver, Co., brother, Tom Franks, Ashville, Ky, stepsisters Cindy (Darold) Oty, Fort Campbell, Ky, stepbrother Brent Buis, Plainfield, IN, and several nieces and nephews. She is also survived by dear friends Scott and Vicky Woolridge of Decatur and Mike and Julie Roberts-Fronk of Pomona, CA. She was preceded in death by her brother Alan Franks.
She graduated from Mooresville High School in 1980; Eureka (Illinois) College in 1986, with a bachelor’s degree in English; Claremont (California) School of Theology in 1989, with a master’s degree in Religion; and Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, in 2003, with a Masters of Divinity.
She was ordained into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ministry in 2003.
She was the editor and reporter for the Eureka edition of the Woodford County Journal, Assistant Director of Church Relations for the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in St. Louis, Mo.; a resident pastor at National City Christian Church, Washington DC; Chaplain in Residence at Georgetown University, Washington, DC; and the manager of the Christian Church Conference Center in Bethany Beach, Del, a church camp grounds for the Capital Area Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She also was a correspondent for the Pantagraph in Bloomington, Ill., and the Post Dispatch in St. Louis, Mo. Some of her free-lance articles appeared in Disciples World and Just Women, published by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She was a passionate advocate for mental health awareness, treatment, and destigmatizing mental illness; child abuse prevention; and social justice.
She struggled with diabetes, depression, and a number of other health issues for many years. In December 2008, she was hospitalized for a serious infection that destroyed her mitral heart valve and caused some minor strokes. She retired in 2009 and moved back to Eureka, where she continued to preach and do free-lance writing.
She provided pulpit supply, preaching in churches in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. In her various ministry positions, she focused on writing and communications.
When she lived in Eureka, she was very active in the community. She served on the Heartline board, serving a term as president; the United Way Board; and the Eureka Hospital Board. She was part of the committee formed to develop and open Heart House, an offshoot of Heartline, which still serves as a shelter to both homeless and battered women.
She also was active at Eureka Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) serving at various times as a deacon, an elder, Sunday school teacher, youth group sponsor, worship leader, member of the chancel choir and the Christian education and worship teams as well as the Project Inasmuch committee.
She earned several awards for her writing for the Woodford County Journal from the Illinois Press Association, including a first-place award for her column Frankly Speaking.
A memorial service will be held in the spring of 2022 at Eureka Christian Church, Eureka, IL. As per her request, a named fund will be established at Christian Church Foundation to benefit Week of Compassion, the emergency response ministry of the Disciples. Contributions may be mailed to Eureka Christian Church, 302 S. Main, Eureka, IL, with the designation “Arlene M. Franks Fund”.
Please sign the family guestbook.