The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Edith Eskola Franzén and Richard Sheaff Franzén

 

September 21, 2018

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Edith Eskola Franzén was born on Feb. 13, 1930, near Bruce Crossing, Mich., the daughter of Finnish immigrant parents August Eskola and Liisa Kalijarvi Eskola.

When she was 5 years old, during the Great Depression, the family lost its dairy farm and moved to a homestead on North Cemetery Road near Ewen, Mich., where she grew up with two sisters and five brothers, all of a previous marriage. All predecease her.

Edith graduated from Ewen High School in 1947, briefly attended Northern Michigan University and was married to Fred Cook from 1948 to 1952. She was employed from 1951 to 1953 as a secretary with the Anderson Cherne plumbing and heating contractor engaged in the construction of the White Pine Copper Mine in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Edith moved to Chicago, Ill., in 1953 and worked as a secretary for the Conley Associated consulting firm and General Portland Cement Company. She was married in 1955 to Richard Franzén and moved with him in 1957 to Terre Haute, Ind., and then to Indianapolis, before moving to the Washington, D.C., area in early 1965.

Richard Sheaff Franzén was born on May 31, 1928, in Bloomington, Ind., the third son of Carl Gustave Frederick Franzén and Florence Josephine Buker Franzén. He had two older brothers, Carl Heydon, and Charles Kugler, both who predeceased him.

He graduated from University High School in Bloomington in 1945 and enrolled that November in Yale University in New Haven, Conn., from which he graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Shortly after graduation, he traveled to Sweden, the birthplace of his father's father, where he was employed in various positions until he was drafted into the Korean War in April 1951 (U.S. 55 170 211). He was discharged two years later with the rank of sergeant E-5 after taking basic training in Fort Hood, Texas, and serving as a photo interpreter with the 45th Infantry Division, Oklahoma National Guard, in Korea, briefing artillery observers accompanying L19 pilots flying over North Korea.

Richard joined R.R. Donnelly and Sons Lakeside Press printing company in Chicago as a sales trainee in 1953 and served as a sales forecaster before leaving in 1957 to become a general assignment reporter with the Terre Haute (Ind.) Star. He joined the Indianapolis News in 1959 and was a general assignment reporter and covered politics and the Indiana General Assembly before joining, in 1965, the Washington, D.C., staff of newly-elected Congressman Andrew Jacobs Jr. (D-Ind.), serving as administrative assistant until 1968. Richard was especially proud of his and others' work that went into the creation of Medicare.

Richard served as director of congressional relations and as public information director of the United States Office of Economic Opportunity from 1968 to 1973, when he joined the public information office of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology). He became the public affairs director of NBS in 1976, a position he held until his retirement in 1990. Upon his retirement he was awarded the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for Meritorious Public Service.

Richard received a Master of Science degree in public relations from the American University in 1978 and subsequently served as adjunct professor of public relations at the university, teaching graduate level courses in government and public relations.

Edith went to work in 1974 for the General Nutrition Company as a clerk in the Springfield, Va., mall store, becoming store manager and then district manager before serving as a manager of Faces Restaurant in Crystal City, Va., from 1979 to 1982. In 1982, she was hired by the United States Senate Office of Technology Assessment and served as the conference coordinator for the agency's production of technical studies and reports until her retirement from the federal government in 1985.

Dick and Edie (to all who knew and loved them) were active in civil rights issues for many years and participants in demonstrations and protests in Washington, D.C., during that turbulent time. They also strenuously opposed America's involvement in the Vietnam War and were actively engaged in protests against it.

Dick and Edie had three children - Charles Rice, born in 1957, of Westminster, Md .; David Brian, 1958, North Garden, Va .; and Liisa Eskola, 1961, Charlottesville, Va. - and seven grandchildren. They were opera enthusiasts and took opera tours to the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Italy, as well as traveling to Great Britain, Finland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana, Mexico and the Virgin Islands.

Upon retirement, Dick and Edie moved to Ewen, where they had a home on 80 acres that formerly was part of the farm on which she grew up. They spent the winters in St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in 1997 organized together with neighbors the St. Michaels Preservation Coalition which successfully opposed intensive residential and commercial development in that environmentally fragile Chesapeake Bay area. They sold their house in St. Michaels in 2002 and moved to a condominium one block from the downtown mall in Charlottesville, Va.

In 2011, they sold the condominium and moved full-time to the house in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. With their health increasingly fragile, in early May 2018 they moved from the Upper Peninsula back to Charlottesville to share a house with their daughter, Liisa.

They passed away of different causes less than one day apart after being together for 65 years.

There will be no funeral service, but the family is planning a memorial service near Ewen.

 
 

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