July 18, 2024

Franklin “Larry” Calkins


Franklin "Larry" Calkins, 87, of Greenfield, died Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.

Larry Calkins, 87, of Greenfield, died Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center surrounded by his loving wife and entire family. A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Greenfield with burial in the Greenfield Cemetery. Full military graveside rites were conducted by the Greenfield American Legion Head-Endres Post No. 265 and V.F.W. Post No. 5357. The Lamb Funeral Home in Greenfield is in charge of the professional arrangements.

Memorials may be directed to the Larry Calkins Memorial Fund to be established by the family at a later date. Online condolences may be left to the family at www.lambfuneralhomes.com.

Franklin Lawrence Calkins, known as Larry, was born May 7, 1936, to Cecil “Boots” and Marjorie (Cullen) Calkins in Adams County. He lived in several rural locations in Adams and Adair counties during his childhood where he enjoyed farm life, learned the value of hard work, developed a sense of adventure and appreciated the outdoors. He attended country school before attending Greenfield High School where he graduated in 1954. After high school, Larry enlisted in the United States Navy and served two years. A highlight of his service was time spent in Japan.

While a senior in high school, a pretty freshman by the name of Kay Swift caught his eye. The two were married April 19, 1958, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Greenfield. Larry and Kay just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Five children were born between 1959 and 1970: Jeanette, Mike, Patrick, Beth and Patti. Sadly, Patrick was born with a congenital heart defect and lived only two months.

Larry worked for Iowa Electric Light and Power Company, later known as Alliant Energy. There, he enjoyed the many long-lasting friendships he developed with his co-workers. After retiring in 1992, Larry began his second career as a farmer, raising soybeans, corn, Hereford cattle and sheep. He enjoyed farming immensely. Kay and Mike enjoyed helping Larry with the farm, but he quickly learned his daughters were “city kids.” Because he enjoyed the novelty of unusual animals, Larry became well known for his flock of Tunis, red-faced sheep. He enjoyed teaching people about this special breed and was pleased that CCC Tunis had the opportunity to exhibit them at the Iowa State Fair.

Larry’s love of the outdoors led to his appointment to the Adair County Conservation Board, a position he held for 39 years. He was proud of his involvement in establishing Mormon Trail Lake as well as Lake Orient. Of course, his love of the outdoors evolved into many hobbies including hunting, fishing and trapping. All three hobbies were enjoyed for many years, and Larry enjoyed teaching his children how to fish and enjoyed fishing and hunting with Mike. Larry started his yearly Canadian fishing trips with close friends back in the early 1970s. These early Canada trips eventually evolved into father-son family adventures and a tradition which continues today.

Family was very important to Larry. He so enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren’s activities. He was one proud grandpa! Larry and Kay raised their family in Greenfield and lived in their home for over 50 years. They moved to Homestead five years ago and have enjoyed their neighbors, especially socializing with them during Wednesday coffees. When Larry’s health started declining, he couldn’t get out much but always made it to Stubby’s man cave on Monday and Friday and sometimes Wednesday after the Homestead “hootenanny.” His family is so grateful to Stubby. Larry cherished their friendship.

Larry is survived by his wife, Kay Calkins of Greenfield; four children: Jeanette (Doug) Walker of Algona, Mike (Shaunda) Calkins of Boone, Beth Burnett of West Des Moines and Patti (Tong-Uk) Yi of Algona; 11 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; sister, Diana Monroe of Urbandale; other relatives and many special friends.