The Rev. Franklin Clark Fry had a busy June and July ahead of him. Early this month he was to receive his thirty-third and thirty-fourth honorary doctorates. Then on to Atlanta June 19–27 for the biennial meeting of the Lutheran Church in America, of which he was president. He would then spend most of next month as outgoing chairman of the Central Committee at the key assembly of the World Council of Churches.
On May 20, the 67-year-old churchman abruptly ended his speech to the Michigan Synod meeting, returned to New Rochelle, New York, and entered the hospital, where he was reported to be “gravely ill” of an unspecified ailment. A week and a half later, the LCA issued a statement in which Fry resigned as president of the denomination because “my own prospects are not sanguine.” He died June 6—of cancer.
Fry was America’s best-known Lutheran churchman. The church he headed is North America’s largest Lutheran body, with some 3,288,000 members.
He was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the son and grandson of prominent Lutherans. He himself left a son who is a clergyman, the Rev. Franklin Drewes Fry, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in York, Pennsylvania. Another son, Robert C., is a business developer in Pleasantville, New York.
By coincidence, Fry’s speech at the Michigan Synod was delivered in Trinity Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the Rev. Richard I. Preis, the husband of Fry’s daughter, Connie, is pastor.
Fry graduated from Hamilton College and the Lutheran seminary in Philadelphia. He was a pastor in Akron in 1944 when he was elected president of the United Lutheran Church. Fry continued as president when the ULC merged with three other bodies into the Lutheran Church in America in 1962. In his last major public ...1
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