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 BROOKLYN, N.Y., Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Frederick William Franz, president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and member of the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses, died Tuesday at the society's world headquarters in Brooklyn. He was 99 years old.
 He died of cardiopulmonary arrest.
 In 1945 Mr. Franz became the vice-president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania and remained in this office until 1977. Upon the death of President Nathan H. Knorr in that year, Franz became the fourth president of the society. Although plagued by loss of vision in his mid-nineties, he served in this capacity until his death.
 A noted Bible scholar and public speaker, Mr. Franz was versed in the Biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. He traveled extensively, addressing vast audiences around the globe. He was noted for his ability to speak for hours from memory alone, expounding on Bible chapters verse by verse without using notes.
 His largest audience consisted of 253,922 persons from 123 countries present for the 1958 convention of Jehovah's Witnesses held at New York's baseball meccas of Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds.
 Franz was born in Covington, Ky., on Sept. 12, 1893. In 1899 his father Edward moved the family across the Ohio River to Cincinnati. Here his mother, Ida Louise nee Krueger, came in contact with representatives of the Second Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati, and sent her three sons, Albert, Herman and Frederick to the Sunday School of that church. There, young Frederick developed an avid interest in the Bible, making him stand out as different from his classmates. Though only a teenager, he began to teach Sunday School class at the church.
 He was class valedictorian at his graduation from Woodward High School. At 18 years of age, he entered the University of Cincinnati with his sights fixed on becoming a Presbyterian preacher. He studied Biblical Greek, classical Greek and Latin.
 Franz' brother Albert introduced him to the teachings of the International Bible Students, as Jehovah's Witnesses were then called. Albert sent him the booklet Where are the Dead? written by Scottish physician John Edgar. This publication convinced Franz that the traditional teachings of the immortal soul and hell-fire were unscriptural. He began a study of the first three volumes of Studies in the Scriptures, written by Charles Taze Russell, noted world lecturer and the first president of the Watch Tower Society. Soon thereafter, Mr. Franz severed his ties with the Presbyterian Church.
 Franz wanted to leave the university, but he acquiesced to his father's wishes that he continue his schooling. Although chosen to receive a Rhodes scholarship, Franz left the university in May 1914 to devote his life to the Christian ministry.
 Franz remained active in literary and administrative work until his death.
 -0- 12/23/92
 /CONTACT: Robert Johnson or Merton Campbell of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 718-625-3600/

CO: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society; Jehovah's Witnesses ST: New York IN: SU:

CF-BR -- AT003 -- 9433 12/23/92 08:37 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 23, 1992

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