Famed writer Franklin dies: Michigan journalist traveled the world, made lasting impact

Dixie Franklin, a columnist for The Mining Journal and Michigan Out-of-Doors and author of books on Michigan, died Monday at her home in Gwinn.


For The Daily News

GWINN — Dixie Franklin, 93, of Gwinn, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame and a prolific travel writer, died Sept. 7 at her home.

She was born in 1927 in San Augustine, Texas, and attended school in Lufkin, Texas, where she was inducted into the high school’s hall of fame, according to her obituary from Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services.

For 20 years, Franklin was a well-known figure on Mackinac Island, where she was employed as media consultant at the Grand Hotel. She traveled much of the world as she gathered stories for publications that included the Chicago Tribune, Midwest Living Magazine, National Geographic and others.

For years, she covered news for the Milwaukee Journal, Detroit News and Green Bay Press-Gazette. She was a columnist for The Mining Journal and Michigan Out-of-Doors and authored books on Michigan and the Great Lakes.

Franklin served as president of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and was on the board of the Society of American Travel Writers. She also was the first female chair of the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association.

Franklin was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 2016.

“I knew growing up I was a writer, but I didn’t know how to become one,” she was quoted as saying at mijournalismhalloffame.org. “I wasn’t afraid. I just did it.”

Franklin’s contributions to Michigan’s archive of travel literature and to the state’s tourism industry earned praise from editors and fellow travel writers who lauded her “integrity, warmth, storytelling talent and a freelance career” spanning four decades, her hall of fame description reads.

“While working for a Marquette dentist, Franklin sold her first article to a trade magazine,” it said. “She successfully pitched an idea to the editor of The Mining Journal for a weekly newspaper column about local personalities.

“She became a stringer for the Milwaukee Journal. Soon the former dental assistant was traveling the world and contributing travel and outdoor articles to numerous magazines and newspapers.”

Franklin specialized in stories about Michigan, especially the Upper Peninsula. Her byline appeared on thousands of articles, including a monthly column for Michigan Out-of-Doors from 1977-84. Books and awards then followed.

“Franklin freely shared her knowledge with students and other writers, and applied her Michigan expertise to tourism public relations,” the hall of fame said.

Franklin also worked with the Travel Journalists Guild on protecting writers’ rights.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250, or cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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