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William Karl Franz


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William Karl Franz was born on February 9, 1937 in Freeport, Illinois to Karl John Franz and Elta Josephine (Balles) Franz.

He was a lifelong Musician and served on the Fire Department while in Freeport a job he truly loved.

In 1965 he came to Florida with his band “The Fabulous Freeport 3” and played Dixieland Music in the Daytona Beach area which led to a permanent move to Brevard County In 1967 with his wife Janice and three children; Debbie, John & Cindy.

Still playing music he eventually formed “Bill Franz and the Moonlighters” as he became a business owner during the day. He also formed several other groups during his 60 year career his favorite being “The Riverboat Gang” which played on the Gatsbys Dockside Riverboat for several years.

Bill was a Catholic, married the woman he chased since the 8th grade, loved his children, grandchildren and great grandchild very much.

He taught them everything he knew as well as passed his love of music, the land and animals to each of them.

He was welcoming to everyone he met and touched many lives through his gift of music which was shared all up and down the Space Coast.

He would always say “bring your friends, and bring your enemies; they may be friends of mine”.

He leaves behind 2 daughters; Deborah Ann (William) Thiel, Cynthia Sue (Joseph) Lang, a son John Karl Franz, 3 grandchildren; Jana Renee (Brint) Bauer, Occo Nicole Lang, Ryan William Lang and one great grandchild Dawson Matthew Bauer.

Bill passed away on Saturday September 28, 2019 and will be greatly missed by his family as well as everyone who knew and loved him.

A funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, October 11, 2019 at Divine Mercy Catholic Church 1940 N. Courtenay Pkwy. Merritt Island, FL follow by a celebration of life at Kiwanis Island Pavilion.



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Sandy Berghaus

October 8, 2019, 4:11 pm

Rest high upon that mountain uncle Bill, you were the best! Prayers for us that are left behind who mourn the loss of a wonderful man. Until we meet again. ❤️

Christopher Clark

October 8, 2019, 4:52 pm

We thank you for being a part of our lives. We have LOTS of great stories to tell. We will miss you. Gods Speed. It’s never goodbye, it’s just – till we meet again.

Raymond Balles

October 8, 2019, 5:15 pm

Thanks for welcoming me and my fiance when we made the move south. I enjoyed evey second i got to spend with you and Janice and the kids….Especially loved the farm and your famous SUPER BOWL PARTIES…🤣 The riverboat was ALWAYS a memorable time and a horrible hangover.🤣 But i would give about anything to go back and do it all over again….You truly were a GREAT and WONDERFUL guy…..Rest easy and say hi to my old man….love ya bro.


October 8, 2019, 6:39 pm

Thank you Bill for the happiest six years of my life. Love and miss you.

Bill Wilson

October 8, 2019, 9:28 pm

Sorry for your loss mom my thoughts are with you and Bill’s family

Jim Ditsworth

October 9, 2019, 6:13 am

Had a lot of good times on that old riverboat. The last time I was on it was like 28 years ago. The Challenger was another good spot. The bar over in Coco and Coco Beach was another. Then there was the Farm, that was a whole different story. We hauled truck loads of Cabbage for cows, to antiques from the Flea markets. Plus we always stopped at the Golden Lamb for breakfast in Sanford. Don’t forget the SA for shopping. Then there was the Thanksgivings up north. Turkey was always good. Bill showed me how to play two songs on my organ, which I still remember to this day. Had a great chicken dinner one night, I hope every one remembers that one. When we would head down south to Florida, in February for two to three weeks. Bill would always play on the road again for us down there. Then there was the night they were shooting potatoes out Kevins window, on the 2nd. floor. Bill always played the song ( For the good times) which they were the good times. So keep I mind the GOOD TIMES you will never forget.

Brook Wagner

October 9, 2019, 8:31 am

What a wonderful person, if hunting pheasants around Freeport or hunting and fishing in Florida there was never a dull moment when you were around Uncle Bill. So many memories of a life lived to the fullest, You Will Be Missed. Rest in Peace

Mr. Bob Northrop and Dr. Celeste Northrop

October 9, 2019, 8:08 pm

Mr. Bob Northrop and Dr. Celeste Northrop..We will miss the laughter on the porch….

Earleanne Burkhalter

October 10, 2019, 12:30 pm

Rest In Peace my friend. Many fond memories @ the cottage in Brown’s Mill. You, Dean and my dad Earl played many a tune together to our delight! He & mom even moved to Fla. for some gigs there as well. Well, you 3 are together in Heaven now entertaining the Angels.
Fondly, Earleanne (Downing) Burkhalter.🎶👼🏻👼🏻👼🏻🎶

Darryl & Christy (May) Pehl

October 10, 2019, 12:31 pm

I am so sorry for your loss Debbie,Cindy,John,& All of the family I have memories of Bill and family years ago at the Franz Cottage outside of Freeport when i was just a kid with music flowing and plenty of friends and family those were good times and also remember the times in Florida when we all made the move to Daytona as our Dads’ took the adventure of moving there as the band The Fabulous Freeport 3 what a great time that was.. I am very sorry for your loss I pray that all your wonderful memories help to bring you all comfort & peace

Butch Mordick

October 10, 2019, 7:21 pm

Say Hi to Pete for me & tell him I miss Him , I know you & he will get together !!!!!

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