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CODY, Wyo. — Clair Gene Franzen, 84, died Jan. 7, 2012, at the Billings Clinic in Billings, Mont.

He was born Aug. 24, 1927, in Sentinel Butte, N.D., the son of George Franzen and Cora Hayward Franzen. He was number 12 of 13 children.

As a teenager he began training horses and clowning at rodeos. At 18, with three dollars in his pocket, he packed his suitcase and escorted a load of horses to New York, where he went to work on an oyster boat.

Somehow he found his way to a riding stable in Connecticut, where he met the love of his life, Ruth Caroline Edmonds. They journeyed back West where they were married in Wibaux, Mont., on July 27, 1946. They moved to Cody, where jobs were plentiful. There they lived for the rest of their lives.

Gene worked in the oil fields for several years and eventually bought into Boydston Well Service, which became Boydston Franzen Well Service. Marinell Boydston was his longtime business partner, as was Roger Bush.

Gene loved the great outdoors and felt closest to God when he was in the mountains. He looked forward to his yearly elk hunting expeditions. He and Ruth truly enjoyed camping and rock hunting on the public lands.

He is survived by his children, Douglas (Lesalie) Franzen of Bothell, Wash., Karen Franzen of Cody; his grandchildren Derek Franzen and Laurie (Rick) Jones of Granite Falls, Wash.; great-grandchildren, Nolan Jones and Sawyer Jones; his brother, Charles Franzen of Lewistown; and his sister-in-law, Doris Fitzpatrick of Silver Springs, Fla.

Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, his father and mother, and 11 of his brothers and sisters.

Visitation will be Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, from 9 to 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Cody. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. at the church with burial to follow at Riverside Cemetery. An online guestbook is available at

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