Franz Holscher, Sr.

Published 6:35 pm Monday, May 25, 2015

Franz Holscher, Sr.

May 23, 2015


Franz Foster Holscher, 94, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at Covenant Village. Born in Rocky Mount, NC, he was the fourth child of the late Paul Frederick Holscher and Alice Foster Godsey Holscher.

Mr. Holscher attended Rocky Mount public schools where he met his childhood sweetheart, Jeanne Harper, who would become his wife of 69 years. He was a star athlete at Rocky Mount High School. After graduation, he attended West Nottingham Academy in Colora, Maryland to play football. After a year at West Nottingham, he enrolled at the University of Delaware to play football but left after the first semester to enlist in the Army Air Corps to serve in World War II.

He was a Ball Turret Gunner on a B-24 bomber and flew 37 missions. He was shot down over occupied territory in what was Yugoslavia. He and his surviving crew hid out from German patrols until they were taken in by the Resistance Fighters. Declared missing in action and feared dead, they were finally flown out by the O.S.S. back to allied territory. He was awarded numerous commendations and medals for his combat service including the Purple Heart for wounds he received during battle.

At the conclusion of the war, he returned to Rocky Mount and later enrolled at East Carolina University on the G.I. bill and a partial football scholarship. His senior year, he was the starting quarterback and captain of the football team and would go on to receive a Master’s Degree. Along with his wife, Jeanne, and sons, Rocky and Fred, he moved to Gastonia, where he became the football coach and a history teacher at Gastonia High School.

He retired from coaching in 1957 and went to work at Homelite Chain Saws. Over the years, he served as Personnel Manager of the Gastonia plant, Manager of the Greer, SC plant, and Marketing and Sales Manager in Port Chester, NY. He also served as Vice-President of Leviton in Brooklyn, NY and later joined Thurston Motor Lines as Vice-President, eventually rising to CEO and Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 1987.

Mr. Holscher enjoyed tennis and golf and flew his own Beechcraft Bonanza until his was 76 years old. He attended Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Gastonia where he taught Sunday school for many years as well as serving on the church council at a board member and President.

Over the years, Mr. Holscher served his community and industry in many capacities including; President of the Gastonia Jaycees, Gastonia City Council, Gastonia Mayor Pro-tem, Director of the Gaston Country Club, Gastonia Habitat for Humanity, Past President of the Schiele Museum of Natural History, NC Teaching Fellows, Advisory Board at East Carolina University School of Business, and many other trucking industry and civic organizations too numerous to mention.

Among his many awards, he received the William C. Lassiter First Amendment  Award presented by the NC Press Association, Citizen of the Year in Gaston County, the Outstanding Alumni Award at East Carolina University, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Holscher was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 69 years, Jeannette Harper Holscher as well as a brother and two sisters.

Mr. Holscher is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law, Franz F. “Rocky” Holscher, Jr. and Donna Holscher of Hickory, NC, and Frederick N. Holscher and Pat Holscher of Washington, NC; grandchildren and spouses, Ragan and Brian Daigle of Raleigh, NC Erin and Rich Linden of Columbia, SC, Franz F. “Dutch” III and Lee Ellen Holscher of Columbia, SC, Franz Frederick and Emma Holscher of Washington, NC, Harper and Hutch Hutchens of Fayetteville, NC, and Paul S. and Ingrid Holscher of Raleigh, NC; great-grandchildren, Chandler Daigle and Houston Daigle of Raleigh, NC, Saunders Linden of Columbia, SC, Joseph T. Holscher of Raleigh, NC, Foster Hutchens and Hilton Hutchens of Fayetteville, NC, Mary Emma Holscher and Frederick Holscher of Washington, NC.

Family and friends of Mr. Holscher are invited to attend his visitation beginning at 12:30 PM Wednesday, May 27, 2015 in the parlor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Gastonia with his memorial service to follow at 2:00 PM in the church sanctuary. The Rev. Braxton East and the Rev. Kitty Rankin will officiate. A private service of committal will occur at Pineview Cemetery in Rocky Mount, NC at a later date.

Condolences may be sent online to

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 805 S York Street, Gastonia, NC 28052 or the Schiele Museum, 1500 E Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054.

The family wishes to express their sincere appreciation to the staff of Covenant Village for their love and compassionate care of Mr. Holscher.

McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the family of Mr. Holscher.