Doris G. Franklin
Meriden, N.H. — Doris G. Franklin, a long time resident of Meriden, N.H., passed away last Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, one month shy of her 95th birthday.
Throughout her life, she touched people with her generous, caring and gracious nature. Her life centered on her family, faith, the farm and rural life she and her late husband, William (Bill) Franklin Jr., built in Meriden.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., she acquired a life long interest and appreciation for other cultures, languages, music and art that framed her life. She graduated from Stamford, Conn., high school in the 1930’s where she met and later married Bill. After high school, and while he was serving overseas in World War II, she was employed as the advertising manager for a major department store in the Stamford area, where she was recognized as one of the most effective advertising managers in the area… who also happened to be a young woman.
After Bill returned from Europe, they chose to leave the more familiar suburban surroundings of southwestern Connecticut to fulfill the dream they both shared of owning and operating a farm. It is difficult to imagine the culture change of going from the Stamford area one day, to milking cows the next morning, even back in July of 1946. That they continued to live on this farm (named Peaceful Valley Farm by them) for nearly 60 years, is a tribute to their commitment to the life they chose.
A highly accomplished artist and illustrator who studied at Pratt Institute, she chronicled their way of life through many drawings, pastels and paintings created over a lifetime of work. Her work focused on the simplicity of their life and its constant center on home and family. Her love of home was also captured in detailed dollhouses she built, where her ingenuity transformed the most mundane objects into wonderfully detailed miniature furniture and objects that expressed her sense of elegance and simplicity. To supplement the family income, she did illustrations and graphic design work for many businesses in the area, that extended from full size skiing murals on the lodge wall at Arrowhead Ski Area in Claremont, to menus, place mats, brochures and Christmas cards.
She was active in Mericrafters selling various artwork reproduced by her father, Raymond Smith, on his hand letter presses under the name of the Doray Press. She openly shared her creativity with many others, encouraging and supporting them in their own creative efforts.
Over her life, her view of being a homemaker evolved from being an accepted or expected role to one where she consciously saw the strength and stability it brought to families, and actively chose to maintain this lifestyle at a time when many women were beginning to work outside of the home.
Her sons, William III, Gregory and Paul, have fond memories of this love of home and farm, her wonderful home cooking and bottomless cookie jar, trying to teach us French by records (it didn’t work) and for always maintaining a warm home (even when it reached –40°F outside at times).
A celebration of Doris’ life and work will be held at 2 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2014, at the Plainfield Town Hall.
In keeping with her focus on the home, donations may be made to The Upper Valley Haven, 713 Hartford Avenue, White River Junction, VT 05001. http://uppervalleyhaven.org/support/