Mark A. Franklin

Mark A. Franklin

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Mark A. Franklin, beloved father and grandfather, respected professor, and all-round Mensch. Mark died on May 24, 2021 in Berkeley CA with family by his side. 

Raised in Brooklyn by Celia and Jack Franklin, Mark had fond childhood memories of his loving parents, of baseball, and of fishing in Sheepshead Bay. He attended Columbia University, graduating with degrees in literature (1961) and engineering (1962 & 1964). He enjoyed sharing assignments with his father: Jack would complete them alongside Mark, thereby obtaining a Columbia education by proxy with the help of his patient son. After graduating, Mark worked in the data processing division of Honeywell Inc. before earning a PhD in Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

Mark raised two children with his former wife, Barbara Decker, in St. Louis, MO, where he relocated in 1970 to take up a faculty position at Washington University. Mark’s work focused on computer architecture and parallel processing approaches, pioneering unique mappings between algorithms and novel hardware design. He co-authored several books including an early reference on IBM PC assembly language, as well as over 100 technical papers. Throughout his career, Mark enjoyed teaching, supervising, and collaborating with his many students. Mark was also keen on applying academic discoveries to industry, co-authoring over 20 patents and co-founding the computer-hardware company Exegy. 

As a caring friend, Mark touched many through morning chats in cafes, tennis matches, and involvement in the St. Louis Jewish community, particularly as a long-time member of Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel (BSKI). Mark shared with his children his love of music (both classical piano and folk guitar), the outdoors (hiking was a life-long pursuit), and dedication to family. After retirement in 2011, Mark relished time with his grandchildren; he was playful almost to the end, always game for an improvised duet on the piano, for hugs, and for sharing treats. He will be remembered for his keen intellect, his genuine concern for the welfare of others, and the joy he found in the natural world. 

Mark is survived by his son Jonathan (Caroline) Ajo-Franklin; daughter Laura (Andrew) Franklin-Hall; five grandchildren; and brother David Franklin. In remembrance of Mark, please consider donations to the Nature Conservancy or the Washington University Hillel. A memorial service will be held in the early fall of 2021. If you would like to attend, either in-person or remotely, please notify [email protected]