Andrew Jay Franklin, age 69, of Northfield, MN, died Tuesday, March 9, 2021. He lived a life of insatiable curiosity and grand adventure. He studied art at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, taught physics in Togo during his time in the Peace Corps, built a cabin by his own hand in the Minnesota north woods, was a renowned science educator for over 40 years and was the most engaged, loving, hands-on father the world has ever seen.
Andy was born in Columbus, Ohio on September 14, 1951, the son of Ralph and Shirley (Williams) Franklin. The family moved to Trenton, Michigan where he attended junior high and later moved to Dickinson, Texas where he graduated from high school in 1969. Andy studied for one year at the University of Texas before transferring to the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. There he received his bachelor’s degree in Biology and Fine Arts and later a Masters in Science Education. He was united in marriage to Gabriele (Faltinsky) Solterra in Waterloo, Iowa and gained a daughter, Ahnaray (Burtch) Bizjak. Afterwards they made their home in Prior Lake, MN and had three more daughters, Taylor, Elyse, and Laurel Franklin. Andy taught high school biology and ecology at Prior Lake High School for 35 years and not one day passed without him putting his full heart and energy into educating the students that entered his classroom. In 1993, they moved to Northfield, MN, where he spent the rest of his days. Andy later divorced and married Gina Washburn in 2009 and gained two more daughters, Ahnacole and Isabelle Chapman. Gina and Andrew divorced in 2020.
Andy was a legendary Renaissance man. He was an avid outdoorsman, and inspired a lifelong love of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in his friends and family. He was a teacher, father, adventurer, artist, poet, singer, actor, writer, musician, environmentalist, activist, performer, wood carver, jewelry artist, chef, hunter, scientist, self-taught taxidermist and veterinarian, and most of all was known for telling colorful outrageous unforgettable stories of his rich and eccentric life.
Andy loved deeply and was loved deeply in return by all who knew him. His stories will be told for generations and his spirit will forever live on in every wild crazy adventure and every moment of stillness when taking in the beauty of the natural world.
He is survived by his daughters Taylor (Manny Wagnitz) Franklin; Laurel (Spencer Werner) Franklin; Elyse (Zachary Stencil) Franklin; Ahnaray (Tim) Bizjak; four grandchildren Indigo, Rosen, Zach, Kenzie; his mother Shirley of Tama, IA; and his siblings Robert (Fania) Franklin of Eureka, CA, Robin (Mark Gosink) Franklin of Gales Ferry, CT, and Susan (Dan) Anderson of Tama, IA. He was preceded in death by his father Ralph Franklin.
No services are currently scheduled. Arrangements by Bierman Funeral Home and Crematory. biermanfuneralhome.com.