Edward V. Franklin Gave Years to Public Service

Edward Vernon (Vern) Franklin died peacefully at Windemere on Martha's Vineyard on Feb. 2. He was 89.

Ed, as his friends knew him since his college days at Williams, was born at home in Flushing, N.Y., to Lindley Murray Franklin and Magdelaine Weed on Jan. 19, 1915. "Flushing," he once said, "was a nice country town. There was a farm behind us and we all walked to St. George's Church on Sundays - quite the procession."

Ed was the third of four brothers, Lindley, John and Marty. When school was over in the spring, the entire family would take a trip to Gude Wyves Farm in Noroton, Conn. It took four hours at 35 miles an hour to get there. The summers in Noroton were the highlight of Ed's younger years. He and his family resided at 82 Nearwater Lane in the old family homestead built in 1749. It was at this time that he learned to sail, became an avid gardener and competent horseback rider, played tennis on the family court, learned to swim at Weed Beach (at that time the family beach), played golf and enjoyed fresh produce from the farm which included, eggs, milk, butter, vegetables from his father's vegetable garden and fruit from the fruit orchard.

At age 12, he went to St. Mark's School for Boys. and in his junior year after passing his college boards early was accepted into Williams College. At Williams, he majored in art, played on the soccer team and was a member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity.

After receiving his bachelor's degree from Williams in 1937, Ed entered New York University School of Architecture, where he remained for three years. In 1940 he took a job as an engineer with Turner Construction Company in New York city and subsequently met his first wife, Marice (Mickey) Butler. They were married in 1941 and moved to Noroton, Conn.

With World War II an imminent threat, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve training class and was graduated as an ensign in 1943 after doing extensive training on the three-masted, 216-foot square rigger, the Danmark out of New London, Conn. His first assignment was out of Norfolk, Va., where he took command of an 83-foot wooden anti-submarine patrol boat. After attending Loran School in Groton, Conn., Ed became the commanding officer for Coast Guard Unit 332. He ended up being overseas for three years. During this time he was responsible for setting up a Loran station on the island of Pelilieu in the Southern Pacific and subsequently on the island of Talapulan in the Southern Philippines. He was discharged as a Lieutenant JG on Feb. 20, 1946 and returned home to see for the first time his 18-month-old daughter, Alice Louise, born Nov. 22,1944.

He gathered up his wife and young daughter and returned to Noroton, where they settled into a small red cape on Nearwater Lane. While completing his studies to become a registered architect, Ed spent three years with Vermlya-Brown Construction Company in New York city. In 1950, he joined Nelson Page to become a partner in the residential and commercial architectural firm of Page and Franklin in Darien, Conn. Meanwhile, Richmond Weed Franklin was born in 1948 and Peter Butler Franklin in 1951.

As Ed settled into family life with three children, he was kept busy with Page and Franklin designing residential homes in Darien, including his own at 44 Pasture Lane along with the Darien Housing Project, the new town hall and the Tokeneke Club, to name a few. But community service also called and he became a volunteer member of the Noroton fire department, a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards in 1952, a member of the board of trustees of the Noroton Presbyterian Church, a member of the Noroton Yacht Club, treasurer of the Community Council, director and vice president (1956) of the Kiwanis Club, and the Family Counseling Service, chairman of the town government study Group of the RTM, and served on the Republican town committee for six years along with serving on the board of selectmen (first selectman in 1964) for six years.

It was around this time that he took his next job with Couples Products in New York city, a Division of Alcoa, designing aluminum curtain wall. A few years later he joined his father's N.Y. architectural firm York and Sawyer, later known as Kiff Voss and Franklin, which specialized in banks and hospitals such as the Bowery Savings Bank on 42nd street, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital. In 1968 Ed became a partner of this firm and enjoyed the challenge of designing and seeing built the Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut. On Sept. 13, 1971, Ed's wife, Mickey, died unexpectedly of an aneurysm at the age of 52. Luckily he found another wonderful woman Alice Hill, a friend of the family, whom he married in the fall of 1972.

At the age of 65 Ed and Alice retired to Martha's Vineyard, a fond sailing destination from Noroton. Here once again he became active in town affairs. He was on the board of the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, serving as one of the vice-presidents for six years. He was involved with Hospice. He served on the board of appeals for two years. He was on the board of trustees of the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury and an usher and moderator for two years. He participated along with Alice in the Meals on Wheels program for 11 years. He also continued to utilize his architectural skills by first designing an addition to their residence at 129 Winyah Circle in Vineyard Haven and then designing additions to friends' houses along with a sitting room for Grace Church. He also spent time with Sydna White working on the Luce House, was in charge of the architectural committee for Pilot Hill Farm for five years, and designed watercolor posters for travel talks at the Vineyard Haven Public Library. In his free time he managed to play golf at Farm Neck, play tennis, work in his raised-bed vegetable garden and enjoy his favorite pastime -- sailing on his Marshall catboat, Pax.

He is survived by his wife, Alice Hill Franklin; four stepchildren, Tom Harlocker of Toronto, Canada, Chris Harlocker of Lake Forest, Ill., Marian Garfolo of San Rafael, Calif., and Douglas Harlocker of Los Angeles, Calif.; his three children, Alice Goyert of Martha's Vineyard and Boston, Richmond W. Franklin of Tucson, Ariz., Peter B. Franklin of Concord, and 13 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard. P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.