Earline Franklin Dies
The date was June 5, 2010, and we both had just left the cemetery after saying goodbye to our mutual friend Ali Woodson, of The Temptations in California. We met while waiting for the elevator at the venue hosting the repast. Not knowing who she was, I remember holding the elevator doors open for her and saying “After you love.” Then I was greeted with one of the most loving smiles I’d ever seen. That was all it took and from that day on we became the best of friends. Our mutual admiration for Ali and his amazing talent was often the topic of our many phone conversations. I’d finally found someone who loved and admired him as much as I did. That person was my dear friend, Ms. Earline Franklin. Yes, that Earline Franklin, the sister-in-law of the late Ms. Aretha Franklin. Today I received the most heart-crushing news of her passing and like many; I was in a state of shock and disbelief. I immediately called her phone hoping she’d answer, but she didn’t so, I then texted her. While waiting for her to call me back, I began to see more and more posts online and my heart began to ache even more. Then came a call from her phone and I got excited until I heard the voice of her daughter, Crystal on the other end confirming my worst fear. My friend Earline had transitioned through those pearly gates on high.
Anyone who’s ever been in her presence was privileged to be graced by her loving smile, but those she loved and trusted were blessed even more to be held in her loving arms. Just as she’d taken care of “Re” on the road, Earline took care of many friends with the same loyalty, protection, and devotion. That’s right, if you were going to mess with her friends you were going to have to go through her first. Earline was the kind of friend who didn’t just protect her friends, but she did everything in her power to lift us up and take us to the next level. If she had a connection with someone that she thought could benefit you, she’d put you in touch with each other. If you could line up all her friends, the line would surely go around the world and back more than once. No matter where she traveled, there was always a dear friend there to pick her up. And, if you ever came into town and she knew you were coming, she’d send a car for you or she’d pick you up herself and bring you back to her place to eat. I remember many times after a gig or an event we’d both attended, by the end of the evening we’d end up back at her place eating into the wee hours of the morning and playing music…ask any of her friends and they’ll all tell you the same, LOL.
Earline loved GOOD people. That’s right, I said GOOD people, because she had zero time or tolerance for FAKE people. Man, this one really hurts deeply. I don’t let many people get close to me, but Earline had all access to my heart. She was an incredible human being with a heart of gold.
The only peace I have with her untimely departure is I know she’s up there grinning from ear to ear listening to Ali and Aretha trying to out-sing each other as they’d often done down here on earth.
I can truly say I loved her and I knew she loved me just as much.
You ran a good race my friend and I’m going to miss speaking with you but, rest on now until we meet again.
Love always, your “sweetheart with that voice”, as you affectionately referred to me.
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