Alvin Christy Franklin (Chris) was born on 07/25/1944 to Columbus Franklin and Helen Marie Williams (Franklin) in the city of Benton Harbor, MI. Chris grew up in the city of Benton Harbor with his beloved brother, Irvin Ronald Franklin (Ronnie). After graduating from Benton Harbor high school in 1964, Chris enlisted into the U.S Navy from 1965-1967 and studied air conditioning and refrigeration. Chris also served during the Vietnam War.
Both Chris and Ronnie shared a love of mechanics and autobody work with their dear father Columbus Franklin. That love would progress into Ronnie and Chris establishing their autobody shop “RC Auto Salon” located on Pine St in Benton Harbor. From their work, both Chris and Ronnie created many life-long relationships with a lot of people and local businesses throughout southwest Michigan.
Chris was known for his ability to provide manufactured “showroom” quality repair and refinishing work. Although Chris was never certified in painting, his skills and passion for painting cars came from within. Chris’s passion with cars grew past painting, he loved racing cars, and also loved motorcycles. Chris became a member of the Naptown Riders motorcycle club where he was given the nickname “Boss Hog.”
Chris’s ability to provide knowledge of his learned skills with cars helped generations of people in the community as well as his children and family. Chris had a “blind man’s knowledge” with the ability to guide others once he was no longer able to show them directly. If you had a problem with your vehicle, Chris could usually figure it out and not only tell you how to fix it but even what parts were needed just by listening to someone describe what’s going on and giving him a few specifics.
Chris was known as a witty, silly, humble, sweet, and loving child who would soon carry all these characteristics into his adulthood. Chris could turn any frown or sad face into a smile with a burst of laughter just by telling one of his grand jokes (and to know Chris, you know what you were in for with his jokes). Spending time with his children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, and cousins were always the brighter days of his life. He always found time to socialize and reconnect with many friends and business acquaintances as if time never passed and he always appreciated the presence of familiar love.
Chris was a well-respected man throughout his community and life. He also had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Chris battled with many different illnesses that he overcame, but on the morning of February 14th, 2020, God decided that he wanted Chris to be with him.
Chris is survived by his brothers, Irvin Ronald Franklin, Columbus Franklin Jr., Damon “Red” Cummings, all of Benton Harbor, and Andrew Franklin of Texas, as well as his sister, Terrell Holling of Niagara Falls New York. He is also survived by his longtime companion Judy Spear and his children, daughter Jacqueline Luttrell of Chicago IL, son Christopher Black (Shenita) of Benton Harbor MI, son Todd Franklin (Maureen) of New York, daughter Aisha Davis (James) of Benton Harbor MI, daughter Kim Dunn, son Michael Douglas of Benton Harbor MI, son Craig Douglas of Benton Harbor MI, daughters Robin Wheaton of Benton Harbor MI and Tracy Wheaton (Damon Anderson) of Grand Rapids MI, son Tony Wheaton of Benton Harbor MI, 21 grandchildren, a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins, and a number of close friends.
Chris is preceded in death by his father, Columbus, his mother Helen, and his beloved Nancy Jo.
To send flowers to Alvin's family, please visit our floral section.