Luther Carl Fransen, Jr. went home to be with Jesus November 30, 2012, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was born April 28, 1946, in Greeley, Colo. to Luther Carl Fransen and Helen Reel Fransen. He grew up in Greeley and attended College High School where he competed on the track team. Having accepted Christ as his Savior at the age of five, Lu attended Bethel Baptist Church throughout his childhood and served as the head usher while in high school.
Lu attended Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn. for two years. He then went to the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in Greeley and graduated with a degree in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. His education was put on hold by the Vietnam War. He served as a combat engineer in the 23rd Infantry, the Americal Division. After coming home, Lu returned to UNC where he earned his master's degree in math education.
Lu married Karen Rutherford June 17, 1972, and moved to Medford, Oregon shortly thereafter for Lu to start his career as a math teacher at Medford Mid-High School, which later became South Medford High School. Lu taught a variety of math classes during his more than 35 years at South Medford High School, including advanced placement calculus.
Lu and Karen were involved at First Baptist Church; they participated in, and led Bible studies, and they also taught Sunday school classes. They had two sons, Mike and Mitch, and Lu completely embraced his role as Dad. He loved his sons deeply, and he always made himself available to help them in any way possible.
Lu is survived by his loving wife and best friend, Karen; son, Mike (Houston, Texas), and his wife, Stacey, and children, Audrey (5) and Sophie (4); son, Mitch (Eugene, Ore.), and his wife, Cristin, and children, Carson (5), Austynn (4), and Paislee (2); sister, Marilyn Sandau (Medford, Ore.) No title brought a bigger smile to his face in recent years than Grandpa. He treasured spending time with his grandchildren, and when he was not getting to know them one by one, he was faithfully covering each of them in prayers for a future he knew he would likely never see.
In the summer of 2006, Lu received the sobering news that he had cancer. Lu and Karen made a commitment to use his experience, no matter how difficult it would become, to draw others to Christ and bring glory to God. Lu honored that commitment. He maintained an outward focus and looked for ways to help others and show them Jesus through his situation. It can truly be said that Lu lived with courage and died with grace. Lu, you will be deeply missed, but we rest in the fact that your pain is now gone and you are forevermore in the presence of God.
In lieu of flowers, the family desires memorials to go to the Grace Christian School scholarship fund. All are invited to a celebration service Saturday, December 8, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church, 649 Crater Lake Ave., Medford.