Georgia Sutton Franklin died peacefully in her home on August 17. She was 90 years old.
Georgia loved the Island. She and Raymond first visited the Vineyard in 1963. Georgia convinced Raymond that she wanted a house here and they purchased a home in 1964. They maintained a summer residence until 1977, when they built their retirement home. When their only grandson, Neil Franklin Jr. was born, they maintained another residence in New Jersey to be closer to family. In 2011 they decided they wanted the Island to be their final home and they returned to the Vineyard.
Music was a part of Georgia. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Georgia was known for her beautiful voice. From the performance of oratorio works to singing with Jim Thomas’s Spirituals Choir, her voice blessed and inspired the many who were privileged to hear her.
Georgia did her graduate work at Case Western Reserve, where she was awarded a Master of Social Work degree. Her longtime interest in adoption resulted in her writing a paper on the subject that was later presented at Case Western Reserve. She had a lifelong interest in how people “put their lives together,” marveling at the process by which a shy young teenager could become a mature woman of wisdom and strength. In recent years on the Island, she put her social work skills to use as a volunteer working for Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. She supported many patients and their families as they worked through end of life issues and bereavement following the death of loved ones.
She was a member and friend of the Martha’s Vineyard Chapter of the NAACP and of The Cottagers, Inc. She lent her considerable talents and gifts to the organization of the first Della Hardman Day, celebrated in 2005.
As an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard, Georgia served as the society’s president from 1992 to 1995. She is held with deep regard and affection by the society.
Near the end of her life, Georgia actively participated in the planning of her own memorial service and the writing of her own obituary. She was remarkably at ease with the idea of her own death and shared her great strength and sense of humor with those who visited and cared for her. When asked what words of wisdom she would like to pass on, she offered the following: “I’m ninety and I’ve been a lot of people in my life.” “If someone has a need or desire and you can do something about it, you do it.” “How you show up says a lot about who you are.” “Beware of the trap of losing oneself in the giving process.”
She is survived by her son, Neil Franklin, her daughter-in-law, Angela Franklin, and her grandson, Neil Franklin Jr. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Raymond Franklin, who died on October 4, 2012.
Georgia’s family and friends wish to express their gratitude to Andrea, Georgia’s caregiver, and to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard for all the comfort and caring they provided for Georgia to allow her to die with the dignity she desired.
Georgia’s strong and inspirational presence will be missed by many. A service for remembering and celebrating her life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.