Her daughter recalled that when taking cruises to the Caribbean, one of her mother's favorite excursions, "I would find her talking and counseling a crew member. Before the cruise was over, half the ship's staff knew her."
Vivian L. Franklin, who took her childhood nickname of "Baby Doll" throughout her life, a woman cherished by her family for her encouragement of their dreams and successes, died Thursday. She was 87 and lived in West Philadelphia.
"She encouraged us to be educated and politically involved," said Yvonne Savior, who is retired after a long career as an educator here and in New Jersey. "And to be decent people."
Vivian was born to William T. Bembry and Lugenia Skinner Bembry in Elizabeth City, N.C. In 1945, Vivian met a dashing young sailor from Houston, Tex., named Scott Franklin. They married that year and started their family in West Philadelphia.
"Everyone in the neighborhood, young and old alike, knew and respected Miss Vivian," her family said.
Vivian and Scott Franklin had three children, and she was content to be a homemaker. Although the marriage ended in divorce, both she and her husband continued actively to parent their children.
In mid-life, Vivian decided to go into the workforce. She held a number of jobs before going to Tilden as a noontime aide.
Yvonne, who taught English at Tilden at the time, said that her mother was more than a teacher's aide. "The students would come to her with their problems," she said. "She took care of them, lending a SEPTA token or some money out of her own pocket when needed."
Taking her own advice to be politically active, Vivian served for years as a Democratic committeewoman in West Philadelphia, supporting candidates and encouraging people to vote.
Vivian was a skilled pinochle player who enjoyed meeting over cards with friends and eventually family members.
She was also a dedicated traveler who visited Spain and other European countries, as well as Morocco and throughout the U.S. And there were those cruises to the Caribbean, among her special favorites.
Besides her daughter, she is survived by a son, Scott Franklin Jr.; another daughter, Sheila Franklin Mallory; eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.
Services: Private services will be held Saturday at Eden Cemetery in Collingdale.
Contact John F. Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-5573.