Tara Louise Franklin passed away peacefully in her Orcas Island home on December 20, 2016. She was with her family members, mother Evelyn Franklin, sister Shawna Franklin, and brother-in-law Leon Somme. She bravely battled Alzheimers and a subsequent seizure disorder.
Tara was born in Logan, Utah on April 17, 1962. Her father Donald Franklin, a fisheries biologist and professor at Utah State University, passed away in 1965. Evelyn moved Tara and her two sisters, Julie and Shawna, back to Minnesota to live. Tara was born with Down Syndrome.
A life-long learner and dedicated employee: as a young girl, Tara attended Christ Child School for Exceptional Children in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she learned to read and write. 1974-1977 she attended the Centerville Learning Center learning valuable life skills. 1977-1983 Tara attended and graduated from the 916 Special Education Vo-Tech Program of Lexington School in Roseville, Minnesota. After graduating, she went on to have a proud 26-year career working in the cafeteria at the corporate headquarters of Land-O-Lakes, Inc. in Arden Hills, Minnesota.
Tara was a lover of the natural world. She loved birds and was an avid member of her local Audubon club in St. Paul, Minnesota. As a child, she had fun going to Camp Friendship every summer where she learned to swim, paddle, and develop a love of the outdoors. She loved to go on hikes and be in and on the water.
Tara was a prolific artist: a painter, writer, poet, and photographer. She loved to draw and paint with water colors. She enjoyed keeping track of her days in a journal, and she was responsible for documenting all of her family’s events with her beloved camera. She also loved music, especially Christmas music!
Tara and Evelyn moved from St. Paul, Minnesota to Orcas Island, Washington in April 2009 to live with Shawna and Leon. Her life here on Orcas Island suited her love of the outdoors and her love of community. Tara volunteered at the Orcas Senior Center and at her sister’s business, Body Boat Blade in Eastsound. Tara loved eating out, going to Teezer’s coffee shop, meeting people, making art and trying new things like kayaking!
Tara was a special person, a talented artist, a lover of all people, animals, birds and life.
Some phrases she lived by: “Think happy thoughts!” “Double yes!” and “You are my best friend!”
She is survived by her mother, Evelyn Franklin, her older sister, Julie Kafkalidis, brother-in-law Menelaos Kafkalidis, niece Sarah Kafkalidis and nephew Spyridon Kafkalidis, her younger sister Shawna Franklin, brother-in-law Leon Somme, her Aunt Millie Vaccarella, cousins Eric Vaccarella and Matthew Vaccarella and their families.
A memorial/birthday celebration open house will be held at the Parish Hall in Eastsound on Jan. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. We invite anyone who would like to come to stop by and share a bite to eat and a story about Tara. In memory of Tara we ask that donations be sent in Tara’s name to one of the following:
Audubon Society: https://action.audubon.org/donate/make-tribute-gift?ms=s_src-2015_AUDHP_topbanner_button-menu-, 1-844-428-3826 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hospice of the NW: http://www.hospicenw.org/make-a-donation/ or 360-814-5702.