Posts Tagged ‘Franzwa’

Gregory Mathew Franzwa

April 1, 2009

From today’s Salt Lake Tribune:


Gregory Mathew Franzwa 1926 ~ 2009 Gregory Mathew Franzwa, 83, passed away from cancer at his home in Tooele, Utah, on March 29, 2009. He was born in Carroll, Iowa, on Feb. 27, 1926, to Fred W. and Mabel Henderson Franzwa. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and his three children: Theodore C. Francois, Hemet, Calif; Christian N. Franzwa, Lynnwood, Wash; and Patrice A. Smith, Bailey, N.C. He also leaves two brothers, Sterling “Rusty,” Glidden, and Frederick A., Rochester, N.Y. His stepmother, Jane Franzwa, lives in Tucson, Arizona. He became a professional musician while a sophomore in Glidden High School, playing trumpet with local dance bands. He joined the U.S. Navy’s V-5 flight training program while awaiting graduation in May 1943, and was called to active duty on October 5, 1943. He was released to inactive duty in August 1946, as a Lt. (JG), in the United States Naval Reserve. Mr. Franzwa attended Iowa State College from September 1946 to May 1947; and the State University of Iowa from February 1948 until receiving a bachelor of journalism degree in August 1950. He moved to St. Louis, MO, in October 1950, and opened his firm, Gregory M. Franzwa Public Relations in 1955, a firm which remained in business until his move to Tucson, Ariz., in 1991. He founded the highly successful Tiger Rag Forever Jazz Band in the early 1960s, and the 1926 Jazz Band, an all-star group, also in St. Louis, in the late 1970s. He joined the Old Pueblo Jazz Band in Tucson and remained its leader until moving to Tooele, Utah in 2005. His first book, “The Old Cathedral”, was published by the St. Louis Archdiocese in 1965. His second, “The Story of Old Ste. Genevieve”, was the first to bear the imprimatur of his firm, The Patrice Press, in 1967. “The Oregon Trail Revisited”, first published in 1967, established Mr. Franzwa’s reputation as a premiere scholar of the history of the covered wagon emigration to the American West. The Patrice Press continued to publish Mr. Franzwa’s works, as well as that of many other scholars. In 1996 the author began his state-by-state series of hardcover books on the Lincoln Highway. The six states west of the Mississippi River are now in print with his 21st book, “The Lincoln Highway: Illinois”, in process. He was the principal founder of the Oregon-California Trails Association in 1982, a group dedicated to the interpretation and preservation of the historic road. 10 years later, in October 1992, he founded the current Lincoln Highway Association, with the same purpose. He married his soulmate, Kathleen A. Colyer on Dec. 23, 2000, after a storybook romance centered on the Oregon Trail. His remains were cremated and scattered over the Oregon Trail. At his request, there will be no services.

LH historian & author Franzwa recovering

August 14, 2008

Historian and author Gregory Franzwa has been off the road the past few weeks as he underwent surgery in Salt Lake City for suspected lung cancer. As he relates, on July 29, surgeons “removed a pie-shaped (pumpkin, not lemon meringue) slice from the upper lobe of my right lung” that proved to be malignant but does not require treatment. His wife and road trip companion Kathy is taking care of him – as he says, “she’s in charge of cutting up my Jello.”

Franzwa was instrumental in founding both the Oregon-California Trails Association and the modern Lincoln Highway Association. His series of state-by-state guidebooks to the Lincoln Highway began with Iowa in 1995; books to the west coast are completed and he is now working on states to the east. His Patrice Press carries many more books he has authored about western trails – and at merely 82, he says he has lots more books to write.

Franzwa talks about his new Mormon Trail book

July 23, 2008

The Deseret News had a nice feature on Gregory Franzwa, author of 20 books including a state-by-state series on the Lincoln Highway. His new book, The Mormon Trail Revisited, retraces the 1846-47 route of the Mormon pioneers across the midwest and into Utah. The book mixes history with driving directions to the 1,400 miles of trails and country roads. Its 284 pages include more than 200 photographs of the trail and historic sites.

The article offers some insights into the author’s work and the trail:

“This exodus was the most amazing thing. There’s been nothing like it before or since. You think of the 2,500 humans and 500 wagons that left Nauvoo and camped at Sugar Creek. That has to be the biggest wagon train in history times 10.”

Franzwa and his wife, Kathy, who now live in Tooele, spent three years tracking the trail. They follow the mass exodus across Iowa, where the “adhesive mud so frustrated the pioneers’ plans to cross the Rockies that year that they had to hole up along the Missouri River. That must have been so discouraging for them.”

He then follows the trail that Brigham Young and the lead wagon train followed across the plains and into the Salt Lake Valley. “We found every single campsite,” he says.

His purpose in writing the guide was twofold. He wants to help people get there — “right in the traces. Right where the mules and oxen and wagon wheels left those scars. To get out of the car and stand in those ruts….

A second reason for the guide, however, is equally important, he says — to encourage preservation. “When a person has read that history, stood right on those pioneer pathways and driven or hiked the pioneer routes, it is unlikely that there will be much support for proposals which would damage or destroy the historic trails or sites.

To purchase the book ($24.95 paper, $39.95 cloth) or for more info, check Franzwa’s Patrice Press site