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Frederick William Franz

religious organization official

Frederick William Franz served as President of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, the legal entity used to direct the work of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Background

Franz, Frederick William was born on September 12, 1893 in Covington, Kentucky, United States. Son of Frederick Edward and Ida Louise (Krueger) Franz.

Education

Student, University Cincinnati, 1911-1914.

Career

He learned German and could read Latin and Greek and in later years learned Spanish, Portuguese and French and a basic understanding of Hebrew. He was baptized as a Bible Student on either November 30, 1913, or, according to Franz, April 5, 1914. Upon the death of Watch Tower president Joseph Rutherford, Franz became head of the editorial department, and in 1945 he replaced Hayden C. Covington as vice-president of the Watch Tower Society.

Franz was the Society's leading theologian and has been named as a leading figure in the preparation of the Witnesses' New World Translation of the Bible. Franz continued to contribute to Watch Tower Society literature until his death in 1992 at the age of 99. He was succeeded as president of the Watch Tower Society by Milton G. Henschel.

Religion

He had previously served as Vice President of the same corporation from 1945 until 1977 and as a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses before replacing Nathan H. Knorr as president in June 1977. He was baptized in the Lutheran Church, but attended Catholic services as a child as a matter of convenience, before later attending the Presbyterian Church. He graduated from Woodward High School in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1911 and attended the University of Cincinnati where he studied liberal arts and later (for two years) Biblical Greek, with the intention of becoming a Presbyterian preacher.

His association with the Bible Students began after he read some of the literature of Charles Taze Russell.

Membership

In 1920 he joined the Watch Tower headquarters staff in Brooklyn, New York and in 1926 became a member of the editorial staff as a Bible researcher and writer for the Society’s publications.

Connections

father:
Frederick Edward Franz

mother:
Ida Louise (Krueger) Franz