John Thomas Franklin – 1 September 1938 – 3 November 2018
John Thomas “Tom” Franklin spent his early years in Illinois before moving to New England in 1956 to attend Dartmouth College, where he majored in Philosophy and spent his weekends hiking with the Dartmouth Outing Club.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Franklin began a legal career of more than 40 years ranging from high-level corporate law to founding his own law firm specializing in anti-trust legislation with an emphasis on the rapidly expanding computer industry. Known for his innovative and often iconoclastic style of practice he developed a reputation as a go-to mediator for difficult contractual conflicts over intellectual property. He especially enjoyed the early days of computer law in which there was little orthodoxy, and all the excitement of creating new legal systems from scratch.
Tom lived intentionally and intensely. He brought enthusiasm, energy and purpose to his family life and diverse and lasting friendships. Admired as an ardent, curious and generous conversationalist, he was equally a keen cyclist and sailor who found endless pleasure keeping his boats in top shape and adventuring along the Maine coastline’s many bays and harbors. Although he travelled the world, one of his most vivid and lasting memories was of riding his bicycle across the United States in 2002 and his later ride with his brothers, Wink and Robert, and a friend as they pedaled from Canada to Mexico.
Throughout his life Tom brought his dynamic, decisive, detail-oriented talents to a wide range of social and civic causes, serving as a Trustee for NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New England, an Overseer at the Boston Museum of Science, a Director at Boston’s Computer Museum, as a volunteer at the Perkins School for the Blind and Mom’s Place – a rehab program for mothers with drug addictions. All of these volunteer jobs highlight his longstanding commitments to both the civil rights movement and campaigns for social justice.
Tom lived his last fourteen years in Portland, Maine where he volunteered and served as Trustee with the Maine Island Trail Association and worked passionately to improve gun laws - including serving as President of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition. It was in Portland that he met the love of his life -- Anna Ginn -- whom he invited for lunch one afternoon and never let go. Tom and Anna were married in 2011 and divided their time between Manhattan and Portland, where they were always surrounded by old and new friends, a wide extended family, and beautiful artworks in their hospitable homes.
Tom died from cancer shortly after his 80th birthday. He was predeceased by his brother Winston ‘Wink’ and by Susan Potter Brooks the mother of his three children. Tom is survived by his wife Anna, his brother Robert, and Tom’s three children; Sarah Franklin of Cambridge England, Jonathan Franklin of Santiago Chile and Christopher Franklin of Cumberland Maine. Along with the 15 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, whose lives delighted him no end, he leaves three step children, Nicholas Gordon of Los Angeles, Strand Conover of New York City, and Case Conover of Berkeley California.
A celebration of Tom’s life will be held at the Ocean Gateway, 14 Ocean Gateway Pier, Portland Maine at 11 am on Monday, November 19th, Parking will be available at the venue.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that friends consider donations to:
Maine Island Trail Association (mita.org)
Maine Gun Safety Coalition (mainegunsafety.org)