Cover photo for Johnnie Lee Franklin, Jr. "Watereye"'s Obituary
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Johnnie Lee Franklin, Jr. "Watereye"

August 3, 1946 — June 11, 2020

Mr. Johnnie Lee Franklin, Jr., lovingly called “Watereye”, passed away Thursday, June 11, 2020 at his residence in Flint, Michigan. Age 73 years. He was born August 3, 1946 in Helm, Mississippi to Johnnie Lee Franklin, Sr. and Roberta Foster Franklin.

Johnnie came to Saginaw, Michigan with his parents and siblings in 1950. He attended Saginaw Public Schools and graduated from Saginaw High School Class of 1964. He accepted Christ at an early age and continued in his faith as he united with Bethesda Baptist Church. Johnnie served under the leadership of the late Rev. Dr. Nick Hall, Jr. participating in the Youth Choir, Junior Usher Board, BTU, and Sunday School. He was employed thirty-four years with Saginaw Steering Gear and a member of UAW Local 699, retiring in 1998.

Johnnie later followed his dream by becoming a local disc jockey and opening his self-owned business, Johnny Enterprises, LLC. He partnered with LaserShip, Inc. as courier for their products and their clients until his passing. Johnnie’s favorite hobbies were being a deejay, watching University of Michigan football and basketball, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Lakers and playing with his son Lil Johnnie. He also enjoyed listening to the Canton Spirituals and Rance Allen to keep his faith connection.

Johnnie’s ultimate enjoyment was spending time with his family and dressing up for any occasion. He was the number one stylist of all time. He never met a stranger! Just ask his “crumb snackers”, the name he gave the nieces and nephews! And don’t forget momma’s sweet potato pie with his name on it! And the fact that he was getting younger as others got older. You see, he’s half his age in the morning and half his age in the afternoon! He will be missed dearly by all who loved him.

Johnnie was predeceased by his father, Johnnie Lee Franklin, Sr.; grandparents, Charles and Mary Worshim, Robert Foster and Mary Porter; many other relatives and friends.

He leaves to cherish his memories his devoted and loving “honey”, LaToyia Veal, Flint, Michigan; mother, Roberta Franklin, Saginaw, Michigan; daughters, Minister Cherylrese Henry, Houston, Texas, Alicia Daniel, Nekeiya Powell, Diamond Abdus-Shakoor, all of Flint, Michigan, Shawn Washington, Columbus, Ohio; sons, Chae (Christina) Riley, Rochester, Michigan, Johnnie L. III (Chinyere Byrd) Franklin, Flint, Michigan, Jaelon Daniel, Donavun Robinson, Flint,Michigan, Dean Washington, Columbus, Ohio; granddaughters, Kelah Barconia, Sara Riley, Jayla Franklin, Skylar Franklin, Araia Harris, Londyn Powell; grandsons, Chris Marshall, Bryson Barconia, Chae Riley, Jr., Chaeson Riley, Jonathan Barconia; great-grandchlidren, Karis, Ariya, and Pyper Marshall; sisters, Earleen (Nolan) Smithers, Kathreen O’Daniel, Saginaw, Michigan, Barney Williams, Independence, Missouri, Armey Jene (Phillip) Benson, Charlotte, North Carolina; brother, Alfred (Demetrius Marshall) Franklin, Saginaw, Michigan; mother-in-law, Brenda (Billy) Thrower, Flint, Michigan; sisters-in-law, Katrina Brantley and Nicole Thrower, Flint, Michigan; many uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends, including special friends Sandy Hall, Baldy Turner, Ray Henderson, Kyle Brotherton, James Bradley, Smith Moore, Donnie Langston and Gordon Willis.

The family would like to express special thanks to Our Family Pharmacy of Clio, his LaserShip Family of Flint, Drs. Mohamed and Nuzhat Khedr, M.D.s, Pastor Gregory & First Lady Annie Johnson, Sr. and the Bethesda Baptist Church Family of Saginaw, the Freedom Center Church of Fenton, and Ivan E. Phillips and the Staff of Paradise Funeral Chapel.

The private service for Mr. Johnnie Franklin, Jr. will be live webcast on Monday, June 22, 2020 starting at 10:45 a.m.

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