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In Memoriam

Mr. Franklyn S. Kingdon
Mr. Franklyn S. Kingdon
Franklyn Kingdon

VIRGINIA BEACH - Franklyn S. Kingdon, 96, peacefully passed away in his home on Hatton Street in Virginia Beach June 24, 2009.

Franklyn was predeceased by his wife of 47 years, Barbara Kingdon; his siblings: three brothers, William, Marvin and Alfred; two sisters, Francis and Katherine; and in 2006, his grandson, Nathanael "Nat" Kennedy. Franklyn was born Aug. 7, 1912, in Chicago.

The fifth of six children, he had a wonderful childhood in Chicago. He was a Soap Box Derby winner, a roller-skating champion of Chicago and an avid baseball player with his brother Alfred. Franklyn went to high school at Richard T. Crane Technical School affiliated with the Crane Company where his father was a foreman. He attended Chicago's Grand Avenue Congregational Church where he discovered his love of music, singing and conducting. He played piano and clarinet. He was the youngest choir director of the Scottish Choir in Chicago at age 16. After graduating from Crane Technical School in 1930, Franklyn attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He remained active with his church and choir work. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in music in 1934. After receiving his degree, Franklyn was employed by the Board of Education at Calumet City, Ill., where he taught courses in music and social sciences, directed plays, musical comedies and conducted bands, orchestras and choruses. He continued to pursue his education and received his master's of music from Yale University in 1941. In July of 1943, at the age of 32, Franklyn was drafted into the Army to serve during World War II. He was sent to O'Reilly General Hospital in Springfield, Mo., to be trained as an X-ray technician. In 1944, he was assigned to the 73rd Field Hospital in the Pacific Theater in the South Philippines and Japan. He was in charge of the 73rd's X-ray department and supervised the taking of x-rays, dark room procedures and permanent records. Franklyn was honorably discharged in April 1946 and received the Philippine Liberation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Service Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Service Medal. Franklyn moved to Virginia shortly after he returned home from the war. He met Barbara Brockwell in 1947 while working in the music department at St. Julian's Creek. They both sang in the choir. They married on May 14, 1948, and were married 47 years when Barbara passed away in 1995. After their marriage, Franklyn was the choir director of Cradock Baptist Church for five years. He was hired to be the music teacher and choir director at Cradock High School in 1949. In 1959, Franklyn became the first principal of the brand new E.W. Chittum Elementary School in Chesapeake. After a year-long sabbatical in Nashville, Tenn., to work on his doctorate in education from George Peabody's College for Teachers -Vanderbilt, Franklyn accepted an assistant principal position at Hodges Manor Elementary School in Portsmouth. The following year, he was promoted to principal. In 1963, at the age of 51, Franklyn received his doctorate. In 1964, Franklyn was promoted to being a supervisor and ended his career as an assistant superintendent with Chesapeake Public Schools. He retired in 1977 after being with Norfolk County/Chesapeake Public Schools for 28 years. He was a teacher at every level - from being a music teacher, primary school teacher, high school teacher to being an adjunct professor for The College of William & Mary, where he taught graduate courses in human growth and development for many years. During his career, Franklyn was a member of the Ruritan Club, the Virginia Education Association, Phi Delta Kappa and a lifetime member of the Virginia PTA. Franklyn was most proud of his family. He is survived by his daughter and only child, Celeste Kennedy of Norfolk; grandchildren, Ben Kennedy, John Kennedy and Kristen Kennedy; and two great-grandchildren, Nathan and Ayden Kennedy, all of Virginia Beach.

Franklyn lost 90% of his vision to macular degeneration in 1981. Though blind, Franklyn continued many creative endeavors and enjoyed the company of his family and friends. Franklyn joined the Virginia Association of the Blind and attended their local meetings until the month before his passing. He was proud to belong to an organization that sought to help other's stricken with blindness, especially children.

In lieu of flowers, it is his family's wish that donations be made to the local chapter of the Virginia Association of the Blind, 4209 George Washington Highway, Portsmouth, VA 23702. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, July 6, at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, 3920 Airline Blvd., Chesapeake. Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Great Neck Chapel, is handling arrangements. Condolences may be offered to the family at

Published in The Virginian Pilot on 7/3/2009