James Burke (“Jimmy”) Franklin, age 84, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 9, 2022 at the Ogeechee Area Hospice Inpatient Facility in Statesboro.
A native and lifelong resident of Bulloch County, Jimmy was the younger son of Claire Burke and Samuel Jasper Franklin. After graduating from Statesboro High School in 1956, Jimmy attended Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in Industrial Engineering and was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. Immediately upon graduating from Georgia Tech, Jimmy enrolled at the University of Georgia School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1962, during which time he was inducted into the Gridiron society. After serving in the U.S. Army, Jimmy returned to his hometown where he began his 56-year career as a well-respected and successful attorney. At the time of his death, he was practicing law with his daughter at Franklin Law, LLC.
Jimmy loved the law and took great pride in his profession. Throughout his career, he held several leadership positions including President of the Bulloch County Bar Association, President of the State Bar of Georgia, and President of the Georgia Bar Foundation. The Georgia Supreme Court awarded him the Amicus Curiae award, the highest award given in recognition of distinguished service and contribution to the administration of justice.
A long-time active member of the First United Methodist Church, Jimmy served on several boards and committees of the Church including the Board of Trustees and the Administrative Board. He was a member of the Pathfinders Sunday School Class. Jimmy was committed to serving and giving back to his community, which he dearly loved. He served as President of the Statesboro Jaycees, President of the Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce, and President and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Statesboro Rotary Club. He served as Chairman of the Georgia Southern University Foundation and was an active Trustee for 25 years. His community awarded him the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award. In 2005, he was named “One of Georgia’s Most Influential People.”
Growing up in the country, Jimmy had a lifelong love of the outdoors that he shared with his older brother Sammy, and he was just as much at home on the Ogeechee River as he was in the courtroom. Often referred to as “Jackfish Jimmy,” he was considered by many to be one of the best fishermen on the Georgia coast. Jimmy was also active in Republican politics for over 60 years.
Jimmy took great pride in serving his clients, his community, and his State, but if asked what his greatest accomplishment in life was, he would quickly and without hesitation respond, “Roni, Mari, Ava, and J.R.” Jimmy fiercely and dearly loved his four grandchildren, and the feeling was mutual. Grandpa will be greatly missed.
Jimmy was predeceased by his parents and his brother Sam Franklin. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Fay Foy Smith Franklin, daughter Julie Foy Franklin, and daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca and Jeff Harris; grandchildren Roni Rosales, Mari Rosales, Ava Grace Harris, and J.R. Harris. Also surviving are his sisters-in law and brothers-in law: Beth and Don Comer; Ann and Tom Williams, Paula Smith, and Carolyn Franklin.
The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff at the Ogeechee Area Hospice along with Abide Home Care for their compassionate care and support during his illness.
A private family burial will be held on Tuesday at Eastside Cemetery in Statesboro.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2:00pm on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, at Statesboro First United Methodist Church with Rev. Jimmy Cason officiating assisted by Rev. Stephanie Smith. The service may be viewed using the following link at
The family will receive visitors in the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church following the service.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to Ogeechee Area Hospice, P.O. Box 531, Statesboro, Georgia 30459 or Statesboro First United Methodist Church, 101 South Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia 30458.
Friends may sign the online register book at www.joineranderson.com.
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory of Statesboro is in charge of the arrangements.