Gregory Franck-Weiby Remembered

Gregory Paul Franck-Weiby

March 10, 1950 – November 11, 2011

SILVERTON – Memorial Services are scheduled for Saturday, December 3, 2011, for Gregory Paul Franck-Weiby, Silverton-area artist, numismatic master and peace activist who died at about 3 a.m. Friday, November 11, 2011 after suffering a massive stroke the previous Wednesday. He was 61.

He was born March 10, 1950 at Harriman Jones Clinic and Hospital in Long Beach, California, the son of Paul Lauren Weiby and Holly Knill Weiby. His parents divorced when he was about 9 and he was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother, Ivy Knill. When he was in his early teens, his mother became personal assistant and photographer to the explorer and bathysphere inventor, the late Otis Barton. Greg traveled much of the world with his mother as she followed Barton on his explores. Greg spoke often of his time in Europe, especially Granada in Spain and weeks in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Greg studied sailing and became knowledgeable about sailing ships of all sorts. In his youth he sailed on an old Norwegian Volksbot which his father owned. All this and more nurtured in him the great artist he would become.

When he was in the country, Greg attended Long Beach area schools. While in high school, he entered the peace movement, establishing an alternative and underground school newspaper. He attended California State University, Long Beach, and while there participated in and lead many peace demonstrations, including the student strikes of the late 1960s. During the course of one of these demonstrations, as a form of protest, he removed from over the entrance to the opposition student senate the “Senate Chambers” sign and to this day that sign is displayed in the entrance of the bathroom in his home as, for him, that protest continued.

Despite the volatility of the time and his many, many labors for peace and justice, he did graduate cum laude from California State University, Long Beach, June 8, 1973, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy.

While at Cal State – Long Beach, he met Sandi Franck, who shortly after his graduation became his beautiful and well-beloved wife who supported him in his art and his continued labors for world peace. He worked a time for the US Post office before the two moved to a parcel of land near Drakes Crossing, in the hills above Silverton, where he made his home for about 34 years. In that time, he built his house in the mountains himself, a little at a time, preserving as much of the land in its natural state as possible, having a great love for the environment. He joined the Nature Conservancy in 1980 and he fully intended to leave his property to that organization.

His labors for peace took first position in his life. In 1984, he joined the American Civil Liberties Union and in 1997 he joined the International Campaign for Tibet and was active in their causes. He also was a card carrying member of Amnesty International, Population Connection and Greenpeace.

He was a passionate peace activist, who led marches and vigils against wars from the conflict in Vietnam and all the intervening wars since then to those in Afghanistan and Iraq today. He was not just pro-peace, he was anti-war and everyone around him knew it. With other members of Silverton People for Peace, he kept regular vigil, every 4th Friday, and was present at last month’s vigil to mark President Obama’s announcement that troops would be pulled out of Iraq by year’s end. Though Greg was dubious of that pledge, he did recognize it as a bitter-sweet victory for peace.

Of late, he took great hope in the Occupy Movement as a sign that, perhaps, there remains hope for this great nation. He participated in Occupy Salem marches and demonstrations, gave generously to Occupy Salem Village in Willson Park and he was one of the scheduled speakers at the Occupy Silverton Rally November 5, 2011, just days before his sudden and unexpected stroke and death. Calling the old American Dreams “unsustainable”, he called for “a New American Dream”. “This movement is being mis-represented as ‘anti-wealth’,” he said during his speech before the approximately 150 gathered that day.

“More accurately, it opposes a colossal imbalance of power. Once a person has more than few $10’s of millions, it is challenging to find enough things to buy that can really make a human being happy. Beyond that, the only thing that much more money can buy is power. At that scale, power becomes an end in itself, and that is why ‘Power corrupts’.

“This is not about ‘envy of wealth’. It is about justice. It is about re-balancing power, re-gaining democracy, enabling national unity to address the threats to our global biological life-support system, to fulfill unmet human needs destabilizing the world, to evolve from a suicidal unsustainable economy to one that works for everybody. It is about freeing us to dream a new American dream.”

Through all the peace work, Greg was an artist. He made dies and coin dies, hand engraving in steel. Any coin from any place and any period could be placed in his hand and he could immediately, off the top of his head, identify it, give details about its lineage and history. He was for a long time active in Salem-area coin clubs. He was a member of the American Numismatic Association, the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, the Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association (PNNA), the American Numismatic Society (ANA) and the Unrecognized States Numismatic Society. Greg made many of the commemoratives for the PNNA and ANA conventions. Attendees to the ANA Coin conventions will recall the curiously dressed man who put on fantastic demonstrations of ancient Greek, Medieval, and early modern coining techniques.

Greg and his first wife, whom he tragically lost to a brain tumor in 2001, had no children. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by all his known blood relatives, though it is thought he might have some surviving distant cousins on his mother’s side, none of whom he knew. In terms of family, he is survived only by his Lady, Karen Kidd. He did, however, in his life, cultivate a wide and extended family of many friends and professional associates, all of whom deeply mourn his too-soon and sudden passing.

Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service and Oakleaf Crematory, Salem, are in charge of cremation arrangements. There will be no viewing.

A memorial service is being planned for Saturday, December 3, 2011, at the Grange Hall in Silverton. All attending please bring a covered dish and your best stories. Dress as you will. Anyone who would like further information should get in touch with Karen. Φ

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