Obituary

michael franke fort wayne and michael franke obituary komet

Fort Wayne mourns the passing of Michael Franke, a notable figure associated with Komet. Explore his obituary for insightful reflections on his influential contributions. Join the community in honoring Michael Franke’s legacy, recognizing the mark he left on Fort Wayne and the Komet legacy.

The City of Fort Wayne lost a giant this week with the death of Komets President and Co-Owner Michael Franke at the age of 63. After a long battle with cancer, Michael passed away peacefully on December 10 at Stillwater Hospice with family by his side. His passing is a huge loss both personally and professionally.

Along with his siblings, Michael Franke acquired the Komets franchise in 1990 and spent more than three decades as the team’s dedicated leader. During that time, the team won an incredible seven championships under the guidance of the Franke family. In addition to the Komets, Michael also left his mark in various hockey organizations. He held a highly regarded position on the ECHL Board of Directors and played an integral role in stabilizing both the United Hockey League and the International Hockey Federation over the years. His influence and innovation impacted hockey at every level.

In a heartfelt statement released by Komets GM and Michael’s brother, David Franke, he noted that being a part of Komets hockey was Michael’s lifelong dream. From attending the games as a boy to taking over the franchise at age 30, the Komets represent Michael’s greatest personal and professional passions. It was fitting that he spent his final days in the hospice with his beloved Komets championship ring that he earned through diligent leadership.

After battling cancer for a long time, Michael Franke finally and cruelly succumbed to the disease on December 10 at the age of 63—too soon for someone who still had so much to contribute for the game and community he loved. The courage and perseverance Michael showed during his illness were certainly immense, making it even more difficult for his loved ones to accept his loss.

Michael Franke’s passing left behind immense sadness and emptiness. His close-knit family, including his fellow Komets owners, lost both siblings and business partners. Meanwhile, the Fort Wayne community lost a leader his brother described as someone who “deeply loved” the city. And the hockey world has lost an executive who Commissioner Emeritus Gary Bettman hailed as a “passionate steward” of the sport. Everyone who knew Michael shares in this incredibly sad loss.

While Michael Franke’s absence will be keenly felt by the city, his indelible impact on Komets hockey and the community at large lives on. The team’s statement emphasized Michael’s central role in the operation and success of the franchise over the past 30 years. As Komets continues to achieve milestones and enrich Fort Wayne, Michael’s leadership and founding vision will remain at its heart long after his death. That proud heritage provides comfort in these difficult times.

Michael Franke left a lasting mark on Fort Wayne as an exemplary sports executive, selfless community champion and devoted family man. May he be remembered fondly through the upcoming victories of the Komets.

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