Othelia Franz (1919 - 1980)



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Aberdeen, Brown County, South Dakota

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1919 - In the year that Othelia Franz was born, in the summer and early autumn, race riots erupted in 26 U.S. cities, resulting in hundreds of deaths and even more people being badly hurt. In most cases, African-Americans were the victims. It was called the "Red Summer". Men who were returning from World War I needed jobs and there was competition for those jobs among the races. Tension was heightened by the use by many companies of blacks as strikebreakers.

1943 - When this person was 24 years old, on March 31st, the Broadway musical Oklahoma! opened. Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (the first of their string of successful collaborations), audiences loved it. The musical ran for 2,212 performances originally and was made into a movie in 1954.

1952 - When this person was 33 years old, on July 2, Dr. Jonas E. Salk tested the first dead-virus polio vaccine on 43 children. The worst epidemic of polio had broken out that year - in the U.S. there were 58,000 cases reported. Of these, 3,145 people had died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.

1978 - When this person was 59 years old, on November 18th, Jim Jones's Peoples Temple followers committed mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana - where they had moved, from San Francisco, as a group. Jones was the leader of the cult and ordered his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch, which they did. Whole families (women and children included) died - more than 900 people in all.

1980 - In the year of Othelia Franz's passing, on April 24th, a rescue attempt was begun in the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The attempt failed and 8 US servicemen were killed. Eight helicopters had been sent for the mission, but only 5 arrived in operating condition., Since the military had advised that the mission be aborted if there were fewer than 6 helicopters, President Carter stopped it. Upon leaving, a helicopter collided with a transport plane and the men were killed.

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Othelia Franz died in January 1980 at 60 years of age. There is no listed cause of death. Othelia was born on December 4, 1919. We are unaware of information about Othelia's immediate family. We know that Othelia Franz had been residing in Aberdeen, Brown County, South Dakota.


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