The tribute to Ms. Franklin will start at 2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at Oak Knoll School, 1895 Oak Knoll Lane in Menlo Park, where she served as principal from 1986 to her retirement in 2002. The family requested that the celebration be held at the school.
After a short bout with ovarian cancer, Ms. Franklin died Jan. 14 at her home in Sacramento with her family at her side. She was 68.
Word of her death traveled quickly throughout the district last week via e-mails, phone trees, and a message to district families and staff from Superintendent Ken Ranella.
"We have lost a special friend," said Marianne Walters, who called it an "end of an era." She knew Ms. Franklin as a parent, teacher, colleague, and as assistant principal at Oak Knoll School working alongside her for six years from 1996 to 2002.
Ms. Franklin started her career in the Menlo Park district as a student teacher at Hillview School in 1961. After graduating from Stanford University and earning a master's degree in education there in 1962, she was hired by the district to teach fifth grade at Hillview.
She coordinated fourth- and fifth-grade programs and served as a counselor for special education students.
"Marilyn was a successful and admirable educator," said Martha Symonds, a former district superintendent who tapped Ms. Franklin to take her former position as the district's curriculum director when the district office was located at Hillview School.
"She was a mentor to me even though she was younger than I was," said Nick Colasanti, a teacher and later vice principal at Hillview. "Marilyn knew children well from A-Z and also knew how to work with parents. She was a true friend."
In the fall of 1985, Superintendent Symonds appointed Ms. Franklin interim principal at Oak Knoll after the unexpected death of Principal Ennio Cioli.
"Marilyn came to Oak Knoll at a very challenging time," said Ms. Symonds. The district was going through a transition after the annexation of the Willows area. The vast majority of children from the Willows area went to Oak Knoll, she said.
"Marilyn was a successful principal from day one," said Ms. Symonds. "There was no question she was very well qualified. Teachers respected her knowledge of child development and curriculum."
Over the next year, it became clear the parents really admired and respected Ms. Franklin, said Ms. Symonds. She knew the name of every child in the school.
The school board approved Ms. Symonds' recommendation that Ms. Franklin be appointed as Oak Knoll's permanent principal in 1986.
"Marilyn saw the 'whole child,'" said Jan Mackenzie, speech therapist at Oak Knoll who worked with Ms. Franklin during her entire time at the elementary school. "She was incredibly knowledgeable about children's different temperaments and was an enormous help to parents as they sought to better understand their child."
Judy Rogers Bianchi, district superintendent from 1989 to 1992, said Ms. Franklin was a "unique individual," adding: "She prided herself on being a nonconformist. She always was a dedicated teacher and administrator who cared about the kids."
In an interview before she retired in June 2002, Ms. Franklin said: "I never intended to stay so long at Oak Knoll, but I kept meeting new kindergartners." She had planned to return to work in curriculum for the district as soon as she got Oak Knoll on an even keel.
"Seeing the fresh faces of the kindergartners was always what brought her back," said her son Chaz Franklin. "This was the education she treasured most — helping shape the young into efficient and proficient learners."
Ms. Franklin moved to the Sacramento area after her retirement to be closer to her two children, Chaz Franklin and Barbara Reyes, and four grandsons, Charlie and Louis Franklin and Robert Contreras Reyes and Mark Reyes.
She also is survived by her brothers, Bill Jensen, Chuck Jensen and John Jensen, and a sister, Karen Orr.
In her spare time, Ms. Franklin would read, garden, help raise her grandchildren, solve puzzles and be an advocate for less fortunate students in the school district she lived near.
Ms. Franklin will continue to touch the lives of children and adults through the children's book she and her son co-authored and that will soon be published. Proceeds from the book, entitled "Oh Look! Not Again! Your Shoe is Untied," will go to a scholarship fund to be established in her honor, said her son. Details will be announced at the service in her honor.
Friends of Ms. Franklin may share comments, memories and stories on the blog: http://marilynfranklin.blog.com/.
For more information, call Barbara Snow at Oak Knoll School, 854-4433, ext. 4000.