Vivian Frame

January 15, 1919 – June 3, 2020


Mishawaka  –   On June 3, 2020, at 101 years of age, Vivian Frame peacefully completed a life well lived. Born on January 15, 1919 to Adolph and Agnes (née Brakemeyer) Thurn, Vivian Carol Thurn grew up on her parents’ homestead, a sheep ranch near Buffalo, South Dakota. Her youth was marked by the Depression, Dust Bowl, grasshoppers, rattlesnakes, hail, tornados, and blizzards, but also by her resilience. An excellent student, she went on to Spearfish Teachers College and then to Vale, SD, where she taught primary grades for three years before returning to the University of South Dakota for a BS degree in business administration. While working for the South Dakota School of Mines following her graduation, she met Thomas Edson Frame, a rising engineer, and as she would put it, she just KNEW. Tom and Vivian married in July of 1944 while he was in the Navy’s radar program. After the war, they settled in Maryland, raising four children, all of whom survive: Elaine (Edward) McLaughlin, Mark (Carla) Frame, Lynn (Richard) Frame, and Jan (Alan) Seabaugh. When Tom was transferred by Westinghouse to northern Virginia in 1969, the family relocated its home base to Oakton. Following his death in 1979, Vivian lived alone there until 2012, when she began showing symptoms of dementia and moved to South Bend.

Vivian was a keenly intelligent, vibrant, articulate, principled, disciplined, unfrivolous person—an engaged, informed, and vocal citizen, a good cook, a believer in justice, civil rights, and civil liberties, an avid reader, and an advocate of a sound education. She and Tom passed on to their children their love of music—bluegrass, polka, boogie-woogie, ragtime, classical, big band –and their love of the outdoors, taking their family on epic road trips every summer, back to the Dakotas and to beautiful places, including Alaska, where they panned for gold. During her decades of widowhood in Virginia, she walked two miles each morning, carrying a plastic bag and trowel to pick up litter. Vivian played piano, bridge, and Scrabble, experimented with recipes and “a new food a week,” rooted for the Baltimore Orioles, wrote letters faithfully to her family, and kept a stack of note cards by the typewriter to send messages to elected representatives and editors. She enjoyed fried scallops with tartar sauce, the color red, hot dogs, crossword puzzles, chocolate malts, the Washington Post, the Rockies and the Big Trees, and the radio program “Hot Jazz Saturday Night.” She was a great bowler—of duckpins, her favorite, and tenpins, too–a committed lifelong learner, a student and collector of wildflowers, a master of the ready quip, a woman of resolve and spirit. The Golden Rule of her Christian upbringing served as her standard of conduct always. Although dementia diminished and eventually muted her, she remained physically active and retained her spark, with an easygoing, sweet attitude toward her old age. She was predeceased by her brother, Wayne, and husband, Tom, and is survived by her four children, by grandchildren Jenny Holloway, Carson Frame, Thomas and John (Amanda) Seabaugh, Teresa and Leah Bowyer, by great-grandchildren Glen, Emily, and Jacob Hefner, and Matthew Seabaugh, by sister-in-law, Jane Frame, and by many fond nieces and nephews. She will be missed by all; may her strong spirit continue as an inspiration and a source of pride. The family would like to thank Risa Steinkraus and the excellent caregiving team at Caring Junction, her dance and exercise partner, Satriany Hutamy, Dr. Zentz, and Tina Zimmerman at the Center for Hospice Care, for attending to her health and happiness. A celebration of her life will be scheduled when the pandemic eases. She is to be buried with her husband at the Culpeper National Cemetery in Virginia.

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