Cover photo for Franklin Tseng's Obituary
Franklin Tseng Profile Photo

Franklin Tseng

d. November 15, 2023

Franklin Tseng

Franklin Tseng, age 88, of South Yarmouth, MA, died peacefully on November 15, 2023, surrounded by his loving and devoted wife and family.

Franklin was born in Nanking, China in 1935 and came to the U.S. at age 12 when his father, Colonel Hung-tu Tseng, was made a delegate to the United Nations. When the Communist government replaced the Nationalists in China, his father chose to remain in America with his family for better opportunities.

Music played a large role in Franklin’s life. He was a gifted vocalist with perfect pitch. As a teenager, he was noticed by the music department head of Wayland Baptist College while singing solos in church. He was offered a full scholarship to sing in their International Choir and graduated in 1959 with a degree in music and business. He earned his Master of Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ in 1961. He sang tenor with the Saint Bartholomew’s Church choir in New York, the St. Peter’s Church choir in Morristown NJ, the Summit Chorale and the Calgary Church choir in Summit NJ, and most recently, the Chatham Chorale in Chatham, MA from 2003 to 2016.

Franklin earned his MBA from New York University in 1970 and worked as an investment analyst focused on the energy sector for 30 years. He worked at Chemical Bank and Alliance Capital in New York and then spent most of his career at First Fidelity Bank, where he thrived. Despite coming to America as an immigrant in the 1940s without initially knowing more than a few English words, Franklin achieved great success during his career.

In 1964, Franklin met his soulmate, Melanie Burke, in New York City and quickly fell in love. They wed in 1969, were married for 54 years, and rarely left each other’s side. They built their home and life in New Vernon, NJ, where they raised four children.

Franklin was a devoted dad who would do anything for his children. Despite not growing up with pets, he gave in to his animal-loving children and welcomed a menagerie of pets over the years, including horses, cats, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, fish, and a dog. Some of them were given to him as Father’s Day “gifts” with red ribbons around their necks so that he could not refuse them. While claiming not to be an animal lover, he often could be found secretly feeding grass to the horses and petting the cats.

A friend recalled Franklin as “a man of action,” always working on home improvement or yard projects during his free time. His basement workshop was the site of loud and dusty action, including building elaborate model horse stables and doll houses for his kids. While laying the brick patio around the family swimming pool, he cut some into the shape of his children’s initials. He was infamous for successfully painting the exterior of the house by tying a rope around his waist, running it across the roof and through a bedroom window where it was tied to a bedpost and monitored by Melanie for knot security.

In retirement, Franklin would pack the car with his tools and he and Melanie would drive to Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Connecticut, where their children lived. He spearheaded countless projects, including building a new vegetable garden, painting a baby’s room, installing a new patio, tiling bathroom floors, and renovating kitchens. He enjoyed giving his time, talent, and experience to benefit his children whenever he could.

Franklin and Melanie retired to Cape Cod in 2002 after enjoying wonderful family vacations there. Together, they joined the Dennis Yarmouth Newcomers Club where Franklin held several leadership positions. They made many friends over huge wine tasting parties and more intimate dinners. His extroverted personality and sense of humor shined during costume parties and social gatherings. Franklin laughed at his own jokes until he wheezed, which always provoked the family to laughter too. Family gatherings at their home over Christmas and in August at their beach house were joyful times.

Everything Franklin did, he did for his family. He dedicated his life to supporting and giving his children every opportunity to create their own American dream. He valued an excellent education and encouraged their ambitions. He worked tirelessly in his career to provide an amazing life for his family, yet still managed to be home every night for family dinners.

Franklin’s generous spirit lives on forever in his adoring wife Melanie, their children, Laura Tseng and her husband Trey of Gladwyne, PA, Karie DeVita and her husband Larry of Simsbury, CT, Vicki Tseng and her husband Matt of Chicago, IL and Andrew Tseng and his wife, Emily of Cohasset, MA, their 11 grandchildren, Aubrey, Connor, Cameron, Marin, Sy, Griffin, Lakkel, Meilia, Colin, Abbey, and Mara, and his sisters Anna Lum and Cecilia Tseng. He is pre-deceased by his father, Hung-tu Tseng, mother, Man Long Hwang, step-mother Tai Yu Chen and sisters Joyce Tseng and Hazel Hsieh.

We all miss him dearly.

A celebration of his life will be held in the spring of 2024 in Cape Cod. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Franklin’s memory to the Chatham Chorale (www.chathamchorale.org). If you would like to mail your condolences, please send them to Melanie Tseng, P.O. Box 341, West Simsbury, CT 06092.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Franklin Tseng, please visit our flower store.

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