Jacinto City’s Franklin Petry Celebrates 90th Birthday

By Allan Jamail

Jacinto City, TX ~ Sunday, February 4th, 2024 ~ Jacinto City’s Franklin Leon Petry was blessed with a hundred or more family and friends to help him celebrate his 1st Nonagenarian (90–99) birthday.

Franklin’s party was held at Jacinto City’s Town Center and the attendees were served his favorite fajitas by Senoritas Alondra and Dania of Iguana Joe’s Mexican Restaurant. It was catered from their East Sam Houston Parkway North location. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful decorated cake with refreshments.

Franklin is a singer/musician; he performed some of his favorite songs at his party. Playing his guitar and singing, he performed the hymn “I’ll Fly Away.” “You are my Sunshine” and “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash .He also played Elvis music much louder at the beginning of the party, including one of his favorites by Elvis, which is “Glory Glory Hallelujah.”

Susan Trawick Ronsonette, his great niece, and other family members and friends kept the party lively and made sure Franklin had the best party one could provide. Susan provided most of the information for this article.

I’ve known Mr. Petry, as I call him, for going on 51 years. When he moved to Jacinto City in 1973, it was my first year of being elected to the city council. I first met him at the Jacinto City Flint Street Church of Christ where we both were members. He was a member there for 17 years. For the past 15 years, he has been a member of the Greens Bayou Church of Christ. He is one of the city’s finest citizens; he always greets those he meets with his big smile.

Franklin’s full name is Franklin Leon Petry, but originally he did not have a middle name. At 10 years old, he gave himself the middle name Leon to be added to his Christening certificate.

At age 13, Franklin got his first job ushering cars at the South Main Drive-In Theater.

Franklin graduated from Waller High School in 1951. As a Bulldog when he was a junior he won 1st place in broad jumping at the Waller County Track Meet. On weekends while in high school, he would come into town and deliver telegrams for Western Union.

Franklin also worked at Rettig’s Ice cream scooping/dipping ice cream and serving up smiles and sweet goodness to customers. He also worked as a blueprint delivery man for a short while.

While in the Army, Franklin served in the Korean War and visited Japan several times. Franklin remembers Korea being miserably cold and spending his 21st birthday washing dishes all day long.

At age 17, his sister Rosalie got him a job at her place of work, Western Electric, and he worked there for 34 years and retired in 1981. Naturally, this was his favorite job of all.

Franklin is a major car lover and his favorite was his 1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Coupe. In 1957, he bought a brand new Ford Fairlane Convertible, white with red interior, which was also a favorite. He is a former member of the Convertibles of Houston Car Club and a current member of the Bayshore Fine Rides Car Club.

Franklin started playing the guitar at age 13. He once played the bass fiddle in Sleepy LaBeef’s band. He was also the song leader at Church for 13 years. He loves singing and playing music, and has performed for many audiences throughout the years.

Some of his favorite music artists include: Elvis, Sleepy LaBeef, Willie Nelson, & Gene Autry, just to name a few. Visiting Graceland (Elvis Presley’s mansion in Memphis, TN) was one of his favorite trips of all time. The 50’s have been his favorite decade, SO FAR…