Emmerson Fransen a RiverHawks fan to the end
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December 10, 2007 - The Rockford RiverHawks lost one of the earliest supporters last week.

Emmerson Fransen, 75, of Rochelle passed away at the end of a battle against cancer. The retired dentist had been a RiverHawks season-ticket holder since 2002, the team's first year in Rockford.

Fransen was a familiar sight at the team's original office, at Marinelli Field. Among his many pursuits in retirement was woodworking and the team's offices were decorated with many of his inlain wooden designs including the team's logo and 2004 souvenir program cover.

Fransen had a standing request with the organization that, when he died, the RiverHawks' mascot, Rocko, would appear at his funeral.

"The lady that (read the eulogy) told everyone that Emerson had one last surprise for all his friends," said RiverHawks sales director Dan Macdonald, who made the trip Saturday to Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Paynes Point.

At that point, Rocko, along with the mascots of three of Rockford's other professional sports teams - the IceHogs, Raptors and Thunder, joined the mourners.

"We got a round of applause," Macdonald said. "We walked right up to the casket and they all applauded us."

Fransen was born on April 9, 1932 in Freeport, the son of Jacob and Alice Zena (Buss) Fransen. He the United States Army from 1954 through 1956. He married Nelda M. Eden on March 2, 1956. Emmerson graduated from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in 1962, and practiced dentistry in Rochelle from 1963 through 1999. He was a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Payne’s Point.

Emmerson also served on the Rochelle Township High School Board of Education and the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation Board.

For the full obituary, please visit the Rochelle News-Leader website.


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