Daniel Joseph Franke, 60, passed away at his home in Madison, Wis. on Dec. 30, 2023 while peacefully listening to music––his favorite pastime.
Dan was born on April 9, 1963 in LaCrosse to Diane and Rich Franke, the fifth of seven children.
As a little boy, he enjoyed listening to his big brothers’ albums––especially The Beatles and The Rolling Stones––on their record player. He looked up to his brother’s guitar playing and later took up guitar and piano on his own.
Dan attended Central High School and was gifted in math, but mostly enjoyed music in any form. At Viterbo and UW-La Crosse he held roles in summer theater productions, including The Sound of Music where he played Kurt Von Trapp.
In 1981, while a senior in high school, he and his friends started the band The Slow Pedestrians. He was so proud when the band opened for The Replacements in 1985 at Concordia Hall. The Slow Pedestrians had a fun cult following during that time and it was a blast to go to Concordia and listen to them play. They also shared the stage with Soul Asylum, Die Kruezen, The True Believers, and later were one of the first bands to play at SXSW.
Dan worked for Grand Slam Entertainment in Milwaukee in the early 90s, where he booked bands and wrote a music column for The Newsletter. Eventually, he followed the music scene to Austin, Texas.
In 2018, he moved to Madison. He loved visiting the city’s many music venues and drove weekly to Milwaukee to visit his dear friends, past band members, and play with The Mighty Deerlick (the name of The Slow Pedestrians since the early 2000s). By day, he worked for Apple helping people solve their tech issues.
Dan was funny, clever, and intelligent. He had a keen eye which he used to critique movies, music, and books. He was very generous to all who knew him well. Uncle Dan was very proud of his nieces and nephews and he will be missed immensely by his loving friends and family.
Dan was preceded in death by his Father and Mother (Richard and Diane Franke).
He is survived by his four brothers Steve (Barb) Franke, Dave (Vicki) Franke, Tom Franke, and Paul (Angela) Franke; two sisters, Jane (Bill) Holland and Sue (Steve) Mendell, and 16 nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life is going to be held later this year.
Rock on my brother.