Frederick William Franz

Frederick William Franz

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Frederick William Franz (September 12, 1893 – December 22, 1992) served as President of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is a non-stock, not-for-profit organization headquartered in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, United States. It is the main legal entity used worldwide by Jehovah's Witnesses to direct, administer and develop doctrines for the religion...

, the legal entity used to direct the work of Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

. He had previously served as Vice President of the same corporation from 1945 until 1977 and as a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses
Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses
The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses is the ruling council of Jehovah's Witnesses based in Brooklyn, New York. The body assumes responsibility for formulating policy and doctrines, producing material for publications and conventions, and administering its worldwide branch office staff...

 before replacing Nathan H. Knorr as president in June 1977.

Biography


Franz was born on September 12, 1893 in Covington, Kentucky
Covington, Kentucky
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 43,370 people, 18,257 households, and 10,132 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,301.3 people per square mile . There were 20,448 housing units at an average density of 1,556.5 per square mile...

. He was baptized in the Lutheran Church, but attended Catholic services as a child as a matter of convenience, before later attending the Presbyterian Church. He graduated from high school in 1911 and attended the University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati is a comprehensive public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a part of the University System of Ohio....

 where he studied liberal arts and later (for two years) Biblical Greek, with the intention of becoming a Presbyterian preacher. He learned German and could read Latin and Greek and in later years learned Spanish, Portuguese and French and a basic understanding of Hebrew. His association with the Bible Students
Bible Student movement
The Bible Student movement is the name adopted by a Millennialist Restorationist Christian movement that emerged from the teachings and ministry of Charles Taze Russell, also known as Pastor Russell...

 began after he read some of the literature of Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell , or Pastor Russell, was a prominent early 20th century Christian restorationist minister from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and founder of what is now known as the Bible Student movement, from which Jehovah's Witnesses and numerous independent Bible Student groups emerged...

. He was baptized as a Bible Student on either November 30 1913, or, according to Franz, April 5, 1914.

In 1920 he joined the Watch Tower headquarters staff in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 and in 1926 became a member of the editorial staff as a Bible researcher and writer for the Society’s publications. Franz was the Society's leading theologian and has been named as a leading figure in the preparation of the Witnesses' New World Translation of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. His nephew and fellow Governing Body member Raymond Franz
Raymond Franz
Raymond Victor Franz was a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses from 20 October 1971 until 22 May 1980, and served at the organization's world headquarters for fifteen years, from 1965 until 1980. Franz claimed the request for his resignation and his subsequent disfellowshipping...

 resigned from the Governing Body and was subsequently disfellowshipped
Jehovah's Witnesses and congregational discipline
Jehovah's Witnesses employ various levels of congregational discipline as formal controls administered by congregation elders. Guilt and repentance are determined by a tribunal of elders, and hearings concerning what they term "serious sin" are performed by formal judicial committees...

 in 1980 during F.W. Franz's presidency.

Franz died in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 in 1992 at the age of 99 and was succeeded by Milton G. Henschel.