Recalling Memorable Life Of Barbara Siggers Franklin

Recalling Memorable Life Of Barbara Siggers Franklin

Barbara Siggers Franklin was a well-known American gospel singer and pianist. She was the mother of the greatest American singer Aretha Franklin. Let’s look into her memorable life, family and more.

Early Life

Barbara Siggers Franklin was a resident of Shelby, Mississippi. She was born on June 29, 1917. She never shared her parents’ details. There is nothing more available about her childhood.


She had been in a relationship before her marriage to Clarence LaVaughan Franklin. But the name of the man is not known. She also had a son with him named Vaughn. Whether she was married to that or not, she never disclosed that. On June 3, 1936, she married Clarence. They had four children together, namely Erma, Cecil, Aretha and Carolyn Franklin.

Franklin was not loyal to her. He had multiple relationships outside her marriage. He even fathered a girl named Carol Ellan Kelley by Mildred Jennings, a 12 years-old minor member of his congregation. Barbara left him in 1948 and went to Buffalo, New York, with her son Vaughn, where her mother lived. They never divorced officially.

Her Husband: Clarence Franklin

Clarence LaVaughn Franklin was an American Baptist minister and civil rights activist. He was born Walker. ‘Franklin’ is his stepfather’s surname, which the family adopted. He was born on January 22, 1915, in Bolivar Country, Mississippi, USA, to Willie and Rachel Walker. But his father left the family when he was four years old. Then Rachel remarried Henry Franklin the next year.

He started preaching at the age of 16 years. He also served as the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church and finally at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit from 1946 until he was shot in 1979. He was shot twice at his home. He had been in a coma for five years and on July 27, 1984, he passed away, aged 69.


She started her career as a gospel singer. She later worked as a pianist. According to Mahalia Jackson, she was one of the finest gospel singers in the country. She, along with raising her children, actively participated in the musical affairs of the church where Franklin served as a pastor. She used to give private music lessons.


Vaughn was the eldest child of Barbara. He was adopted by Franklin just after their marriage. Her daughter, Aretha Franklin, was a singer, songwriter and also a pianist, following in her mother’s footsteps. She had raised her children well. Her other two children, Erma and Carolyn, were singers as well. Sadly, no one is alive. They all passed away.

Cause of Death

She was living a peaceful life leaving her infidel husband. But she lost her life at such an early age. Tragically, she died of a heart attack on March 7, 1952, in Buffalo, New York, leaving her children motherless. Their life was shattered by the sudden death of their mother. She was 34 years old at her death. It was very sad to hear that her husband Clarence did not attend her funeral.


Barbara Siggers Franklin was a brilliant pianist. Despite being a good singer, she played the role of mother and wife well. Although she lived very few years of her life, she made so many memories that will last for a long time. She will be remembered by everyone for generations.

If you like this post you might alo like these