Brother To Brother

After one son's suicide, Les Franklin turned grief into civic action. Then tragedy struck again

Few things could stop Les Franklin. Born into poverty, he was offered an athletic scholarship, got a business degree and became a key executive for IBM in Boulder, Colo. He bought a dream home in a mostly white, gated community, worked for the Governor and even ran for Congress. In 1990 tragedy struck, when his 16-year-old son Shaka shot himself to death. But Franklin did not let grief paralyze him. He founded the Shaka Franklin Foundation for Youth, dedicated to the prevention of youth suicide. Through it, Franklin, 61, became an even more prominent presence in Colorado. His fund raisers drew...

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