Franklin was the founder of Franklin Corp., one of the largest, privately owned furniture manufacturers in the nation, based out of Houston, Mississippi.
Hassell Franklin passed away on Sunday at the age of 87. He was the founder and CEO of Franklin Corp. The esteemed businessman began Franklin Corp. in 1970 and has been supplying upholstered furniture worldwide for over 50 years.
The northeast Mississippi native grew up on a farm. He was a classmate of Elvis Presley in Tupelo. He served in the U.S. Army and commanded the company that protected James Meredith during the integration of the University of Mississippi. He later graduated from Mississippi State University earning an industrial engineering degree.
Franklin was also a philanthropist, establishing a $1 million endowment at Mississippi State University to build the Franklin Furniture Institute, a research and training center benefitting the furniture community.
Franklin was recognized and honored as a Mississippi State Alumnus of the Year, as well as a Itawamba Community College Alumnus of the Year.
During his career, Franklin was actively involved in the community serving as past president and board member of CREATE Foundation, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, Regional Rehabilitation Center, United Way of Northeast Mississippi and Sanctuary Hospice House. He served as lead director of BancorpSouth (now Candence Bank), as well as on the boards of the Mississippi Economic Council, North Mississippi Health Services, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Publishing Co., Journal Publishing Houston, Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi, Community Development Foundation and Community Relations Association.