Thomas L. Franz

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Thomas Lee Franz, 73, passed away peacefully May 4, 2023, at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy from complications of Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Bodies Dementia. A memorial visitation will be held from 1 p.m. until the time of memorial service at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 20, at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. Entombment will be held at a later date. 


Thomas was born June 21, 1949, in McGregor, to Alvin and Charlotte Franz. He graduated from Mar-Mac High School in McGregor in 1967. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in music and teaching degree. In January of 1970, he married his high school sweetheart, Gerri Flanders. 


After graduation in 1971, he enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam War. He auditioned for the Army Band and was then stationed at the Command General Staff College of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This is where his first daughter, Andrea, was born in 1972. His next tour of duty was Fulda, Germany, with the 84th Army Band. They played at festivals, beer tents and parades. His family followed him and spent two years there. 


In 1974, he returned to McGregor to teach music at his alma mater, Mar-Mac. He spent four years there. Their second daughter, Renee, was born in 1975 while there. While enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard, he was an engineer, driving tanker trucks and helping build roads on some of the reservations. 


In 1979, he and his family moved to Cedar Rapids where he attended Kirkwood College and got a welding degree and worked for Newell Machinery Company and the Iowa Man. In 1981, he decided to go back to teaching music at Amana Community School in Middle Amana; he taught sixth through 12th grade. He loved his job there. Later, when they consolidated to Clear Creek Amana, he taught just high school. In 1998, Tom graduated from Coe College with a master’s degree in history and education. After 27 years of teaching, he retired in 2008 with 108 students. He was very proud of them.


Tom joined the Iowa National Guard when he moved to Cedar Rapids. He was first in signal battalion and later transferred to the 34th Army Band in Fairfield. He retired in 2009 after 31 years of service to his country.  


Tom was a member of the Music Fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and American Legion Post 608 in McGregor for 49 years. He was a member of many community bands: Die Tiefen Keller Kinder German Band in Amana, Dixie Notes Plus, New Horizon Band, Shriners Band in Cedar Rapids and Marion Big Band, in Marion. He loved music and playing his clarinet and saxophone. He also volunteered with his wife for many years at SAINT Rescue. 


Tom is survived by his wife of 53 years, Gerri; daughters, Andrea (Hunter) Parks and Renee (Beth) Franz; granddaughters, Sydney, Sammi and Skylee Parks; mother-in-law, Arla (Ray) Powers; sisters-in-law, Julie Flanders and Jenny (Len) Pritchett; and many aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Allyn; sister-in-law, Judy Franz; uncles, Chuck Noeding, Junior and Ed Davies; and father-in-law, William Flanders. 


Tom was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He was just an all-around great guy who will be greatly missed by so many. Memorials may be made in his name to Hospice House of Mercy, SAINT Animal Rescue or Cedar Rapids Parkinson’s Association. Online condolences may be directed to the family at under Obituaries.

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