Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources award
The Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources award was named after alumnus, tin miner and our first recipient Lenhart Grothe. Grothe was a talented businessman who enjoyed sharing his wisdom with others. He started the Northern Exploration and Equipment Co. as a Fairbanks college student and graduated at the top of his class with a bachelor of science degree in mining engineering in 1957. Grothe, with his partner Tom Pearson, started Lost River Mining in Tin City and Nome, Alaska. Their mine in Tin City was the only operating tin mine in Alaska and the United States at the time. Grothe always said, "It doesn't matter what you do, just do what you do and do it well"; and "Nothing is more valuable than your reputation as an honest person."
Criteria for selection: The Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources award is given posthumously to an alumnus who made significant contributions in the resource, mining or agricultural fields.
2013 Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources award winner
Glen D. Franklin, ’36
Glen Franklin was born on April 30, 1913, on a farm near Chewelah, Stevens County, Washington. In 1936 he graduated from the Alaska Agriculture and School of Mines, later the University of Alaska Fairbanks, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a major in accounting and a minor in education. In April 1938 he married fellow alumna Vieno Wahto, who he met while in school.
Glen’s mining career started in the summer of 1936, when Ernest Patty hired him to be the chief operating accountant for Fairbanks-based Alluvial Golds and Gold Placers. In 1941, Glen registered for the draft and worked for Alaska Freight Lines doing strategic military work in Alaska for the War Department. After the war, Glen returned to the Alaska placer gold mining industry, and in 1945 with four partners — Charles F. Herbert, Leonard J. Stampe, Earl Ellingen and Harold Schmidt — he formed the Yukon Placer Mining Company.
Glen was a civic-minded individual. Having developed an interest in politics after the war, he ran unsuccessfully as an Independent for the Territorial House in 1947. In 1949 Glen ran and won as a conservative Democrat. He represented Alaska’s 4th Judicial Division in the Territorial Legislature and was part of the group that drafted the first Alaska statehood bill. When he wasn’t re-elected in 1953, Glen became a lobbyist for the Alaska Miners Association in Juneau until statehood.
After 1959, Glen Franklin and Harold "Smitty" Schmidt continued the Canadian placer mining operation; they operated together until 1965. Afterwards, Glen operated Franklin Enterprises, a subsidiary of the YPMC, on a small scale on Eldorado Creek until 1968.
When the price of gold began to rise in the mid-1970s, Glen worked as a placer consultant. During 1974-75, he worked with Toronto-based Livengood Joint Ventures, developing a largescale placer mining operation on the Livengood Bench north of Fairbanks. He also provided consulting expertise for operations in Idaho, Oregon and California, and internationally in Haiti, Mexico, and Italy.
Vieno died in 1980. In 1983, Glen pursued a relationship with Patricia Egan Sather, who had recently been widowed. That summer, Glen and Pat were married.
Glen was very active in the Pioneers of Alaska, and a strong supporter of the University of Alaska. Through the Pioneers Igloo #4, Glen directed the purchase and installation of the life-sized bronze statue of the first university president, Dr. Charles Bunnell, which still stands on the Fairbanks campus across from Signers’ Hall.
On the evening of June 17, 2008, Glen D. Franklin, aged 95, passed peacefully in his sleep with his wife, Pat, by his side.
It is with great honor that the UAF Alumni Association posthumously presents to Glen Franklin the 2013 Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources Award.