franklinsketch.jpgLast Sunday, subway track inspector Marvin Franklin was struck and killed by a G train at Brooklyn's Hoyt-Schermerhorn station. He was buried yesterday in Queens after a service where family and friends remembered a generous friend with an artist's soul and a compassionate heart. His ex-wife was the minister who eulogized him. His current wife, three children, five sisters, and four brothers were all present. Michael Williams, a neighbor and co-worker who would drive to work with Franklin, remembered his friend fondly:

Midway through the service, Michael Williams, a muscular track worker in a pinstriped suit, rose and walked to the front of the church. “I’m Mikey, because that’s the name Marvin gave me,” Mr. Williams said. “I called him Marvelous, because he was.”

Franklin spent more than two decades working among trains and on the tracks where he would eventually die, but his passion was art and he carried a sketchbook with him nearly always. In a poignant intersection of two stories this week, when two homeless men were also killed in one night while in the subway system, the people who lived in the subway were Franklin's frequent subjects. Marvin Franklin was awarded Best in Show for his art work at the 2006 City Workers Invitational, hosted by the 136-year-old Salmagundi Art Club. The honor included a year's membership in the club. The work he entered was a watercolor chosen from his "Homeless Series." Some of Franklin's sketches of the homeless in the subway system can be seen here. One of the last watercolors Franklin completed can be viewed here (scroll down). He held a degree in illustrative arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology and spent many of his off-hours studying and practicing at the Art Students League. The New York Times reported that for his retirement, Franklin's dream was to open a gallery and give the proceeds to the homeless, the people he worked around for 22 years.

("Subway Series, Morning Rush Hour", by Marvin Franklin)