Franke joined Acme Printing Ink Company in Chicago in 1948. He started work for Acme Chicago as an in-plant operator and quickly worked his way up to GM of the Mason Avenue plant in Chicago.
His exceptionally well-rounded career includes service in almost every phase of the ink business. He served his company in both laboratory and production positions, and in 1963 he was made president for the Colormaster Ink Co. (Hallmark Cards Offset Printing Ink, manufactured by Acme Printing Inks). The Colormaster inks were exclusively made for Hallmark Cards and were specifically used to print all Hallmark greeting cards at that time.
During those early years, Franke also led the effort to teach Hallmark Cards how to make gravure inks for their Leavenworth plant in exchange for the ink business until they became self-sufficient. Franke was also instrumental in delivering the technology for the Hallmark Cards napkin printing plant in Osage, KS.
In 1968, Franke opened the Acme Ink plant in Kansas City, KS, which made gravure, flexo, sheetfed and heatset printing inks, and continued to grow business while also manufacturing under the Colormaster label. Later that plant grew to become one of the largest and most successful plants at Acme.
In 1989 he was promoted to the position of president of Acme Printing Ink Co., a division of INX Incorporated.
Franke had long been active in graphic arts affairs. He served on the Board of Directors of the Flexographic Technical Association for three years. He has played an important role in the affairs of the Technical Association of the Graphic Arts (TAGA) and served on committees for TAGA.
In the early 1990s, Franke became a member of the INX International Ink Co. Board of Directors in the role of EVP. In 1991, he was presented the Printing Ink Pioneer Award by NAPIM.
During his career, he was a mentor and a teacher, not only to great companies like Hallmark Cards and many others but to hundreds of employees of Acme and INX International. Franke was truly a profound expert in the manufacturing of printing inks and has brought many skills to current and past INX employees. If you did not learn something new from Franke, you were not listening.
He had always encouraged his people to participate in NAPIM and NPIRI technical activities and has the distinction of attending the very first NPIRI summer course in printing ink technology at Lehigh University. During his role on the Board of Directors for INX, Franke also served as president of Knight Colors Dispersion Company. Art served as a senior advisor to INX International before retiring from INX in January 2004.
He is survived by his four children, Lucinda, Don, Dan, and Lelinda (Lindy). During his career, he introduced his daughter Lindy and both sons, Don and Dan, to the printing ink industry while they worked at the Kansas City plant. Lindy is still with INX today, and Dan is currently working for another Kansas City ink company. Art was preceded in death by his wife, Marvaleen.