“CELEBRATING VIOLA FRANKLIN”
It was a blessed Sunday on January 11, 1942 in Plum Branch, South Carolina for Charlie and Millie Harrison when little Viola entered their lives.
Viola spent her formative years in Plum Branch where she matriculated through their school system, at Mims High School. She began her relationship with the Lord at a young age at the New Hope Baptist Church.
Viola and her husband, Garnett Franklin (or “Daddy” as she called him) met at a dance in McCormick, South Carolina in the late 1950s. He has been the love of her life ever since. The Dells put their love story to music in their song “Always Together”.
She was quick to tell anybody, “You ain’t never going to find a man like mine.” Thanks for reminding us, Viola! That was Vi, shooting straight from the hip.
Vi packed her bags and journeyed to Philadelphia to assist her big sister Van, and join her great love, Garnett.
The two became one in 1968.
The Franklins began their new life in Philadelphia, with the addition of their baby girl, Michelle, where Vi worked for a time at Philco Electronics before lovingly devoting herself full time to her family.
Vi and Garnett eventually settled in the Logan section of the city and became a part of “the Village”. Her and her sister Pearl knew all the happenings on Sydenham Street. Many of the children she watched and watched over in “the Village” would always come by to check on her over the years. In the early 90s, she was an active member of the Citizens of West Logan. She had a great care for her neighborhood, and was instrumental in cleaning it up and keeping it safe. She wasn’t afraid to get out in the streets to make a difference.
If you knew Vi in her early days, then you know she loved a good party especially with her big brother Bobby or her good friend, Marion. Her home was always full of music, and there was no one who could rival her when she “broke it down”. On Saturday evenings as they watched Soul Train, you couldn’t tell her and Michelle they weren’t on the stage with Don Cornelius.
It was no secret that one of her greatest roles in life was being Imani’s Mom-Mom. Imani was her pride and joy. She was constantly talking about and bragging about her. Even her doctors and nurses knew how proud she was of Imani. She would move heaven and earth for her, and was her biggest and fiercest protector.
Viola loved her nieces and nephews. Anything they needed, she was there. Graduations, doctors’ visits, birthday parties and summer visits. She was a great source of wisdom for all who needed and sought after it. She had the uncanny ability to guide you if you were out of order and encourage you simultaneously. You walked away wiser and knowing that she loved you.
Vi drew strength from her love of the Lord. She trusted Him and served him diligently alongside her brother and pastor, Elder Napier Riggins, at Time For Hope Straightway COGIC for many years. She was so proud and supportive of him. Her and Pearl were beside him wherever he went, and would do anything for him.
God blessed her to be with her love, “Daddy” until the very end, just as she always wanted.
She served God and praised Him, and now she is with Him eternally.
Her siblings, Katherine, James, Evangie, Lizzie and Bobby, preceded her in death.
The love of her life, Garnett, will always keep her in his heart...
Her great achievement, her daughter Michelle, will keep her memory alive by showing her strength…
Her heart, granddaughter Imani, will make certain her legacy lives on by displaying her love ...
Her kindred spirit, sister and best friend, Pearline Williams, will forever cherish the unbreakable bond they shared….
Her brother and Pastor, Elder Napier Riggins, will forever be reminded there are angels on earth whenever he thinks of her…
Brothers-in-Law: Willie Franklin (Janie) and Charles Franklin (Jean) and Sister in Law Cathleen Franklin and a Host of nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors will always smile fondly when they remember Vi.
“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23….Amen.
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