Stanley Franks. Photo: Vanessa Franks
Stan Franks. Photo: Vanessa Franks

Stanley O. Franks: April 16, 1953-Nov. 9, 2015

Stan Franks, son of Nagoster Franks Sr. and Georgia Dunn, was the youngest of eight siblings. Born and raised in southwest Berkeley, he attended Longfellow Elementary School, Berkeley West Campus Middle School, Berkeley High School, Laney College and San Jose State University where he pursued a degree in music and education.

Growing up, Stanl worked with his grandfather, Kermit Coleman, selling sweet potatoes and melons in the neighborhood.  Over the course of his life, he worked for United Airlines and Easy Overhead Garage Door, among others, and was also self-employed, in car repair and home maintenance and repair. He was an inspiring role model to many young men in his neighborhood often providing them with employment.

Stan was a musician.  As a young child he played the guitar and studied music with folk singer Vangie Canonizado Buell (formally Vangie Elkins), performed solo in the Berkeley schools, and, at age 12, was recorded playing guitar at the Co-op Hootenanny concert in 1965.

Throughout his life, he was a professional musician — playing guitar, singing, writing music, touring internationally, performing and recording with numerous musical groups such as The Notations of Soul, Maharlika, The Mighty Diamonds, The Caribbean All Stars, Earl “Fatha,” Hines, Peter Apfelbaum and the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, Don Cherry, Hueman Flavor, David Murray, Tupac Shakur and The Other Ones (Grateful Dead band members) and others. He provided musical education and inspiration to many young and old musicians and was the first Black American to play at the Reggae Sunsplash, in Jamaica.

Stan was a hard-working, honest, generous and independent man who did not hesitate to speak his mind. He cared deeply for his friends and family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents Kermit and Pearl Coleman, grandfather Leroy Dunn, grandparents Sam Franks and Alberta Gatewood, brothers Robert Earl Franks and Nagoster Jr. Franks, sisters Kathleen Franks, Pearl Lavonne Franks and Versie Ross.

Cherishing the memory of Stan Franks are his loving family – his partner of 27 years Sibila Savage, sons Neiland Franks and Elliston Franks, grandchildren, Ky Juan, Mikhail and Makayla Franks, brothers Kermit and Terrace Franks, sisters Jimmie Goins, Barbara Jones, and Marilyn Franks, nephews and nieces Lawanda, Vershon, Felicia, Vernon, Chauyvonne, Kevin, Angie, Lamon, Nagoster Jr. 3rd, April, Kenny, Gregory, Roslyn, Rotonia, Kasian, Vanessa, Justin, Allison, Zara, Keisha, Kevin and an extended family of musician brothers and sisters and friends.

Funeral Services will be held on Nov. 18, 2015, 11 a.m, at Fouche’s Hudson Funeral Home, 3665 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Tel: 510 654-8558

A musical tribute concert will be held for Stan Franks at a future date.

Berkeleyside is always honored to publish, at no charge, obituaries of members of the Berkeley community. Please email text and photo(s) to

Freelance writers with story pitches can email