Rodney Lee Franks

April 28, 1983June 1, 2024
Obituary of Rodney Lee Franks


Nelsen Williamsburg

What can you say about a 41-year-old man that died? He loved cigars, a good Old Fashioned, his little Buddy Grayson, and Me. Rodney Lee Franks arrived on this Earth on April 23, 1983, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and left it all too soon on June 1st, 2024, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Rodney is preceded in death by his father, Roger Franks, of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Remaining to celebrate his life are his loving wife, Melissa Black Franks; their one miracle, Grayson Franks; his mother, Jackie; and brother, Micheal Franks of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the family he chose to sign on with, The Black Family of South Carolina and all of their loud, joyful, crazy and loving clan. Rodney was blessed to have pursued both of his passions in his employment, working in University Housing and Residence Life, to connect with and develop college student youth and with computer technology. We often marveled at the coincidence of life that allowed him to thrive with both of his degree paths and the wonderful people that he was able to connect with, work with, and take into our hearts as a chosen family. Rodney was very proud to be the first in his family to graduate high school and go to college, and he was passionate about helping those around him. He became a Resident Assistant at Arkansas Tech University and continued his graduate higher education at The University of Central Arkansas (go purple Bears). We spent four wonderful years at Western Carolina University in Sylva, North Carolina, where Rodney was an advisor to RHA and NRHH and had the unique opportunity to teach a freshman-year experience course. He then got the amazing opportunity to work at William & Mary (and if you understood the Higher Education History Nerd, that is Rodney Franks, then you know how much fun that was for him). After six years in housing, while we were ready to leave campus residential living, we weren’t ready to quit Williamsburg and the wonderful family we had found here. He transitioned to IT Support, and we added even more people to our circle of friends. He was elected to be the Staff Senate President for 2023 – 2024, and he was very excited about the opportunity to be the voice of the W&M staff members. To know Rodney is to love Rodney. If you are having problems with your computer, try turning it off and then back on again. If you find yourself with a nice cigar and a bourbon, think of Rodney. Above all, hug your loved ones extra tight, sing that extra bedtime song, say the I love you – never be the first to let go of the hug. Memorial Service information is still being determined and will be shared as soon as possible. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Grayson Franks’ college savings plan ( or the scholarship fund of your choice in his honor. If any grammatical errors are found in the above, please know that in addition to being best friends and partners of nearly 20 years with his wife, he was also her proof reader.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Celebration of Life