Helen Grace Carlson Franklin died on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at her home in Vineyard Haven after a long illness with Parkinson’s Disease. She was born in Boston on Oct. 2, 1921, the daughter of John Carlson and Helen Shannon Carlson. She grew up in Milton and was graduated from Milton High School in 1939.

Mrs. Franklin received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Simmons College in Boston. She began working as a psychiatric social worker at Boston State Hospital, while pursuing a master’s degree at Simmons. In 1952 she married her husband, Robert Franklin, who was earning his medical doctor’s degree at the Boston University’s School of Medicine. Mrs. Franklin received her master’s degree in social work and her husband his doctorate in medicine in graduation ceremonies on the same day in May 1953.

The Franklins then moved to Chicago where Dr. Franklin continued his medical training. Their son Jeff was born in August 1953. The Franklins returned to Milton in 1955, where their daughter Martha was born that year.

In 1956 the family moved to Westwood where Dr. Franklin started a pediatrics practice. Mrs. Franklin worked as a mother and a homemaker, and directed the business operation of her husband’s practice. She later returned to social work at Boston State Hospital and also in private practice in a home office.

Sharing a love of animals in common, the Franklins provided a home to many domestic pets through the years, as well as a Woolly monkey. Mrs. Franklin and her children volunteered at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, and babysat baby gorillas and chimpanzees many weekends at home. Mrs. Franklin’s interest in dog training led to her membership in the Charles River Dog Training Club, where her work with her standard poodle, Jasmine, resulted in some blue ribbons at competitions in Bermuda and at the Agricultural Fair on Martha’s Vineyard.

Mrs. Franklin and her husband spent summers on Martha’s Vineyard starting in 1962. They built a home in Vineyard Haven near Lagoon Pond in 1968, retiring to live on the Island full-time in 1999. Dr. Franklin continues to practice part-time at Vineyard Pediatrics.

An active member of Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven, Mrs. Franklin served on the Flower Guild. She volunteered as a fundraiser for WGBH radio and television and served on the Tisbury Senior Center board of directors. An avid bird watcher and gardener, she enjoyed membership in the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club.

She is survived by her husband, Robert, her son Jeffrey John Franklin of Ventura, Calif.; her daughter Martha Ruth Braunstein of Albany, N.Y.; her two grandchildren Laura Alexis Braunstein of New Orleans, La., and Eric Daniel Braunstein, who attends Colby College in Waterville, Me.; and her brother, John Paul Carlson, of Littleton.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2 at Grace Episcopal Church on William street in Vineyard Haven, with a reception to follow.

Donations may be made to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, 720 Harrison Ave., Suite 707, Boston, MA 02118, or The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Church Street Station, P.O. Box 780, New York, NY 10008-0780.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.