Stephen Field Franks

June 12, 1930 - July 13, 2021
Stephen Field Franks

Gifts & Memorial Donations

Stephen Field Franks of Hendersonville, NC died on July 13, 2021 at the age of 91.

Steve was born on June 12, 1930 to Thomas Hendricks Franks and Margaret Field Franks and grew up in Hendersonville. He received a B.A. degree from Duke University and a J.D. from UNC Law School. He served as a legal counsel officer in the U.S. Navy, stationed in San Diego until 1960. He continued in the naval reserves for many years to reach the rank of commander.
After completing active naval duty, he worked for the County of San Bernardino, California, eventually moving with his family to Sacramento to represent San Bernardino as a lobbyist to the state legislature. He was elected to the Sacramento County School Board and San Juan Unified School District Board, and also served on the Sacramento Mental Health Association Board. In 1980, he moved with his family to Flat Rock, NC, opening a private law practice in Hendersonville. He was elected District Court Judge for the 29th Judicial District in 1988 and served two terms, continuing as an emergency judge until 2002.

Steve was married to Mary Elizabeth Volbeda from 1962 to 2002, and together they had three children. He was then married to Betty Causey from 2004 to 2012. Steve was a member of the Hendersonville Rotary Club, Elks Club, University Club, Rogues Club, Carolina Mountain Club, Sierra Club and various naval, legal and political organizations.

He grew up in the Presbyterian Church, but changed to the Episcopal Church in 1981, serving in church leadership positions throughout his adult life. His faith carried him through good times and bad, and he demonstrated a love and appreciation for all of God’s creation, including the many pets he adopted. He was an avid reader and hiker, and was beloved by his family, children and grandchildren.

Steve’s only brother, Thomas H. Franks, Jr., preceded him in death. He is survived by former wife, Mary Franks, of Hendersonville, and their children Bruce Volbeda (Rosalie) of Rochester, NY; Andrea Strauss (Brian) of Oak Ridge, NC; Craig Franks (Elsa) of Hendersonville; grandchildren Maddy and Jake Strauss; former wife Betty Causey Franks of Hendersonville;
sister-in-law Betty Franks of Arden; numerous nieces and nephews and his beloved cat, Cole.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to Hendersonville Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 1512, Hendersonville, NC 28793 or Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation, 180 West Campus Drive, Flat Rock, NC 28731.

Online memorial donations can also be made to the following links: Memorial Donations to Hendersonville Rescue Mission  or Memorial Donations to Blue Ridge Community College of Hendersonville

A funeral service will be held at St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in Flat Rock, NC on Saturday, July 17 at 2:00 pm. Interment will follow in the church cemetery and then a reception in the Wilderness Room of the parish house.

The family would like to express their gratitude to all of Dad’s caregivers, past and present, as well as Pardee Home Care and Four Seasons Palliative Care and Hospice for their dedication, patience and kindness toward Dad.


Saturday, July 17, 2021
2:00 PM

St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church - Directions
1905 Greenville Highway
Flat Rock, NC 28731


Saturday, July 17, 2021
3:00 PM

St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church - Directions
1905 Greenville Highway
Flat Rock, NC 28731

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  • July 15, 2021
    Sandee Barnwell says:
    Judge Franks was such an amazing man. His mother Margaret was a resident at Cardinal Care Center where I worked. When he was sworn in to become a Judge he asked could I arrange it to be done at Cardinal so his mother could be there. He was such a compassionate person, loved to joke, made sure his mother had the best of everything. I will truly miss him and will always remember his love and great conversations. Prayers for all the family.

  • July 15, 2021
    Linda Ray says:
    It was an honor to be one of the caregivers for this precious man. I saw first hand how much he loved his family and his love for animals. My condolences to all who loved him and may he rest in peace.

  • July 16, 2021
    Felix, Elma & Dave Paterno says:
    It’s a great honor to meet you Judge Steve Franks during our visit on 2017 and spend thanksgiving day dinner with your family. To the Franks family and friends our prayers and sympathy in this time of grief. May you rest in peace.

  • July 16, 2021
    Linda and Evert Potgieter says:
    What a privilege it was to work with Mr. Franks as caregivers! He was a dear soul and we will cherish our time together and will hold the memories dear to our hearts. May God bless the family with comfort and strength!!! Love, Linda and Evert Potgieter

  • July 19, 2021
    William McCleery says:
    As the interim rector at St. John in the Wilderness, I got to know Stephen and visited in his home where, as I recall, he grew up. A loving, caring man of God. May his soul rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon him. Fr. Bill McCleery