Fireworks 2

Donna D. (Dennis) Franks

November 18, 1961 ~ October 21, 2021 (age 59)



Donna Diann (Dennis) Franks, 59, of Essex, entered into eternal rest on Thursday morning, October 21, 2021, at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA.  Celebration of life funeral services for Donna will be held on Saturday, October 30, 2021, at the Essex High School Gymnasium (111 Forbes St) at 11:00 am with Pastor Rick Sleyster officiating.  Matt and family are requesting casual attire for the service. Denim was Donna's favorite, so that would be appropriate in her honor. The family will greet relatives and friends with visitation and viewing from 5:00 t0 7:00 pm Friday evening, October 29, 2021, at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service in Shenandoah.   In lieu of flowers, memorials in Donna's name are being directed to Essex Fire & Rescue or to the Essex Labor Day Fireworks Fund.  Cremation will take place following the services.


Donna Diann (Dennis) Franks, daughter of Max Eugene and Virginia Lee (Spurgeon) Dennis, was born on November 18, 1961, in Harrisonville, Missouri.  She entered into eternal rest at Unity Point Health – St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday, October 21, 2021, following a valiant battle with Covid at the age of 59 years, 11 months, 3 days.

Her early life was spent growing up in the Farragut community where she attended the Farragut Community Schools.  Donna attended high school in Shenandoah, graduating from Shenandoah High School with the Class of 1981.  After graduating, Donna started working in the Shenandoah Memorial Hospital cafeteria.  It was here one fateful day that she would meet the love of her life.

On August 1, 1992, Donna was united in marriage to Matthew Philip Franks at the Essex Golf Course.  To this union one son, Wayne Philip, was born.  The couple had recently just celebrated 29 years of marriage.

For many years, Donna worked at the hospital cafeteria.  She later worked a few years in the Essex Community Schools cafeteria and then at Casey’s in Essex.  It was after branching out into private home health care about five years ago that Donna truly found her calling in life.  She compassionately specialized in taking care of patients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Always liking to be busy, Donna was active as a youngster in the Nishna Valley Saddle Club, where she won several awards.  She also was a volunteer member of the Essex Fire & Rescue for 16 years and especially enjoyed working with Matt when the opportunity arose to do a transfer together.  Donna was a former President of the Essex PTO Organization, a member of the Essex American Legion Auxiliary and the Essex Community Club (Matt and Donna oversaw the recent Labor Day fireworks celebration).

In her younger years, Donna enjoyed training horses.  She was in her “element” when camping with her family and friends.  Through the years they were able to make many memories with their camper they purchased new in 2005.  Other things that brought enjoyment to Donna were gardening, barrel racing, cast iron cooking and canning (specializing in making salsa and relish).

Preceding Donna in death were her father, Max Dennis; and grandparents, Wayne and Freeland Spurgeon and Walter and Helen Dennis.  Left to cherish her memory are her husband, Matt Franks of Essex, IA; son, Wayne Franks of Omaha, NE; mother, Virginia Dennis of Farragut, IA; two sisters, Nancy Stoll and husband Duane of Archer, IA and Linda Nelson and husband Mark of Shenandoah, IA; brother, Joel Dennis and wife Beth of Breckinridge, TX; father and mother-in-law, Ron and Mae Franks of Essex, IA; brother and sister-in-law, Todd and Becki Franks of Essex, IA; numerous nieces and nephews; other relatives; and many friends.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna, please visit our floral store.


Open Viewing
October 29, 2021

10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Funeral Service

Visitation and Viewing
October 29, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Funeral Service

Celebration of Life Funeral Service
October 30, 2021

11:00 AM
Essex Community High School Gymnasium
111 Forbes St.
Essex, IA 51638

Please note
The Family will not be present at the open viewing/visitation time on Friday.


Essex Fire & Rescue
412 Iowa Ave, Essex IA 51638
Tel: 1-712-379-3711

Essex Labor Day Fireworks Fund
P O Box 334, Essex IA 51638
Tel: 1-402-515-9115

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