Franz, Leonard J. (1895-1972)

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Leonard Franz: a Mennonite Brethren educator, administrator, and historian; born 1 November 1895 in Inman, Kansas, the last of 11 children of Gerhard Franz (12 July 1836, Alexanderwohl, Molotschna, South Russia - 19 August 1906, Buhler, Kansas, USA) and Anna (Janzen) Franz (26 February 1851, Waldheim, Molotschna, South Russia - 3 January 1913, Buhler, Kansas); his father had five children from a previous marriage. Franz married Helen Reimer (28 November 1895, Bingham Lake, Minnesota - 1 July 1987, Hillsboro, Kansas) of Mountain Lake, Minnesota, on 20 May 1920. She was the daughter of Johann A. Reimer (1865-1952) and Katharina (Thiessen) Reimer (1859-1933). Leonard and Helen had two children, Elfrieda (married Erwin N. Hiebert) and Laura (married T. G. Hiebert) both of whom also earned graduate degrees and became educators. Leonard died 12 January 1972 in Hillsboro, Kansas.

In addition to serving as the sixth president of Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas (1956-62), Leonard was academic dean (1947-57), during which time he also served as acting president for two one-year terms. He graduated from Tabor College (AB, 1922), McPherson College (AB, 1923), the University of Kansas (MA, 1937), and the University of Colorado (PhD, history, 1948).

Except for his early childhood years and during his graduate studies and travels in America and abroad, he was a life-long resident in Hillsboro. Prior to his appointment at Tabor, Franz was an administrator in the public schools in Hillsboro for 18 years. He was best known for his significant administrative qualities, his expertise as a historian and as a devout, reflective, and active Christian and churchman in the Mennonite Brethren constituency.

Franz's contributions as an educator included generating confidence in Tabor within the constituency, strengthening the academic program at the college through its faculty, curriculum, and facilities and progress toward academic accreditation.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.06 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2011: #8088.

Author(s) Clarence Hiebert
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published July 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hiebert, Clarence and Richard D. Thiessen. "Franz, Leonard J. (1895-1972)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2011. Web. 12 Apr 2021.,_Leonard_J._(1895-1972)&oldid=87551.

APA style

Hiebert, Clarence and Richard D. Thiessen. (July 2011). Franz, Leonard J. (1895-1972). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 12 April 2021, from,_Leonard_J._(1895-1972)&oldid=87551.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 310-311. All rights reserved.

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