Evan Christopher Franz, 18, passed away on Monday, January 23, 2023 at Albany Medical Center after a long and courageous battle with brain cancer.
Evan was born on October 13, 2004 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, New York and was raised in Brunswick. He was a senior at Tamarac High School in Troy, New York. A member of the National Honor Society, Student Senate, SADD, Key Club, and Olympics of the Visual Arts, Evan fought his way through recovery from emergency brain surgery to achieve academic excellence, consistently earning an A average while coping with a terminal diagnosis during a global pandemic. His positive attitude, warm heart, and general irresistibility made him well-liked at Tamarac, where he was a member of homecoming court and prom king. Evan had been accepted at Siena College, where he planned to study Sports Management & Marketing and was awarded several scholarships. He was also awarded the Mary Ann Raymond Donnelly Fighting Spirit Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket “Ball”.
Evan’s entire life revolved around sports. A lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox who was born the very month the team ended their 85-year World Series drought, he enjoyed frequent trips to Fenway Park with his family, and was especially fond of David Ortiz, whose number (34) Ev took for his own. After trying his hand at just about every sport he settled on football, wrestling, and especially baseball as his true passions. He had been a three-sport athlete prior to his diagnosis and continued his involvement byway of various teams. Evan could always be found at Tamarac sports games and even playing on the baseball field with his teammates. Evan was an honorary member of the Siena College men’s basketball team, and loved supporting them through practices and games. Recently, Evan had been made an honorary player for the Brockton Rox, a collegiate summer team in Massachusetts. Evan was also fond of sports memorabilia, especially trading cards which aided his encyclopedic knowledge of sports.
Diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme at age 14, he used his strength and endless positivity to relearn all the skills he once held. He lived everyday to its fullest and inspired those around him to do the same. Evan became an active spokesperson for Make-A-Wish, the Melodies Center, Play It Foreward 518, and Maddie’s Mark Foundation. In 2020, 2021, and 2022 he led a team, Fight With Franzy, for the Make-A-Wish Walk for Wishes and raised donations in order to help grant the wishes of other children like him. He used his charisma and sense of humor to raise awareness and funding for the fight against pediatric cancer. Ev worked hard to leave the world a better place than he found it.
He was a gentle giant who loved many and was loved by many. He was a shining light to all who knew him. The majority of his time was spent worrying about others rather than himself. You could always count on him if you needed help getting through a difficult time or even just a laugh. His laugh and smile were contagious and unforgettable. Evan was also known to serenade those around him any chance he got. He cared so deeply for his friends, family, and pets. All who helped give him the strength to keep fighting. An avid animal lover he leaves behind several pets including his Great Dane, Caroline named after the song “Sweet Caroline”, a Russian tortoise, named Fernando Tortis after “Fernando Tatis”, his favorite guinea pig, Gravy, and stubby-legged mutt, Juliet, whom he lovingly nicknamed “Mama Pig”.
Evan is survived by his adoring family: his parents, Pauline (LeBesco) Franz and John Franz IV; his sisters, Cheyenne Hebb (Ricky) and Alyssa Franz (Lucas Teodoro); his grandparents, Peg and Gordy Basalyga and Jean Franz; his niece and nephews Jeremy, Nora, and Vincent; his aunts and uncles Katie LeBesco (John Shields) and Jason Franz (Mary); and his cousins Molly Shields, River and Emily Franz. He is predeceased by his grandfather's John Franz III and Kurt LeBesco.
His family thanks all of those that supported Evan in his journey and those that allowed him to continue doing what he loved such as the Tamarac Bengals, Siena Saints, Brockton Rox, Chatham Panthers, and fellow teammates and community members. His family would also like to thank the staff at the Melodies Center and Pediatric Units that cared for him during his time as a patient, especially his oncologist Dr. Lauren Weintraub, Child Life Specialist Mary Beth Nichols, and Research Nurse Cait Powell.
A wake will be held at Our Lady of Victory, 55 North Lake Avenue, Troy, on Sunday, January 29, 2023 from 3 PM to 6 PM. In honor of Evan’s love for sports, the family requests that, if possible, those attending the wake wear their favorite sports jersey, recreational or professional, or school colors. The funeral mass will be held at Our Lady of Victory on Monday, January 30, 2023, at 11 AM, (mass livestream link www.olvols.org ) followed by interment at Eagle Mills Cemetery, 550 CR-137, Troy.
Evan’s parents ask that in lieu of flowers, contributions in Evan’s memory are made to Play It Foreward 518, 1080 McKinley Ave, Schenectady, NY 12303 (https://www.playitforeward518.com)
& Maddie’s Mark Foundation, P.O. Box 203, Guilderland, NY 12084 (http://www.maddiesmark.org).