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Nona Jean Franklin Tompkins
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Birth: Aug. 20, 1903
Christoval
Tom Green County
Texas, USA
Death: Jul. 14, 1991
San Diego
San Diego County
California, USA

Nona was born on August 20, 1903 in Christoval, Texas, the eighth of twelve children of Anderson and Blanche (Stone) Franklin. Nona changed her name from Nannie Jane. She said that after she changed it, she found out that Nona means Auntie in Spanish.
Her youngest sister, Joan, recalled that Nona and Inez came home late one evening. Papa was waiting to punish both of them. He whipped Inez but when it came for Nona's turn, she would have none of it. She grabbed the rope being used from the porch swing and wouldn't let go of it. Papa did his best to strike her with it but Nona was determined not to let go. Finally Papa gave up and went to bed. Nona had won the battle. She was always determined.
Nona was also an actress first and foremost. She had stood in for silent screen actresses before going on the stage herself. She performed on stage in numerous productions back east in New York. One of her six husbands was an actor on stage with her. Occasionally she would appear in blackface and had photos of herself performing on stage. She sang and danced and at one time appeared in a knife-throwing act. Her sister Joan asked Nona why she let someone throw knives at her. Nona replied that he was really good at it and knew what he was doing.
Nona was married several times; the only husband whose name is remembered is Lee Barons; although her last marriage was to a Mr. Tompkins. She humorously confided to her sister Thelma's granddaughter that she kept marrying because she wanted a baby and knew it wasn't her fault that she couldn't have one! Nona said that she was back east and adopted a baby boy by lying about her age. She said she got him within a couple of days of applying and that it was the happiest day of her life. She named him Glenn and always talked about him. Her favorite photo was of him at school as a young boy. She really enjoyed his twins after he grew up and married.
In 1986, she met her grandniece's children, Tara and Ryan Beaver, from Washington state. She asked them if they wanted to play poker. When they didn't know what it was, she very dramatically exclaimed, "What! You can't be MY niece and nephew if you can't play poker!" She then very patiently taught the ten and eleven year olds how to play using match sticks to bet with.
Nona told of visiting her son in Tennessee and going by bus to the Grand Old Opry. She struck up a conversation with the bus driver who told her that the old and infirm were always placed in the front row. Nona thought this was a great acting opportunity and hobbled off of the bus, into the Opry, and into the front row.
Nona was very happy when her son moved out to California. She had emphysema in her later years from smoking and attributed it to her doctor who had told her to start smoking to relieve stress. She spent her final years in the Villa Rancho Bernardo Convalescent center in San Diego, dying there on July 14, 1991, at the age of 87. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Anderson Lane Franklin (1866 - 1962)
  Blanche Henrietta Stone Franklin (1870 - 1934)
 
 Spouse:
  Norman Lewis Tompkins (1921 - 1958)
 
 Siblings:
  Nellie Demoretta Sophronia Franklin Brewer (1888 - 1987)*
  Oscar Elon Franklin (1892 - 1963)*
  Willie Belle Franklin Simons (1894 - 1985)*
  Thelma Blanche Andre Franklin Schambers (1895 - 1979)*
  Leonard Anderson Franklin (1897 - 1973)*
  Viola Hixie Franklin Paulsen (1899 - 1999)*
  Donna Deane Franklin Armstrong (1901 - 1989)*
  Nona Jean Franklin Tompkins (1903 - 1991)
  Inez Jan Franklin Martin (1906 - 1979)*
  John Abe Franklin (1908 - 1994)*
  Margaret Ella Franklin Vance (1910 - 1996)*
  Joan Carol Franklin Shuler (1912 - 2000)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Gentleness, Map B03, Lot 4059, Space 4
 
Created by: Margie & Bob
Record added: Feb 28, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 34299083
Nona Jean <i>Franklin</i> Tompkins
Added by: Margie & Bob
 
Nona Jean <i>Franklin</i> Tompkins
Added by: Margie & Bob
 
Nona Jean <i>Franklin</i> Tompkins
Cemetery Photo
Added by: James Seidelman
 
 
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Wish I could have known you longer.
- Margie & Bob
 Added: Aug. 3, 2010

- Steve Perry
 Added: May. 10, 2009
 
 
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