Vella Genevive Mendenhall Franklin, 88, Orofino

      Vella was born August 20, 1924 at Princeton to Rolland (Rollie) Rex Mendenhall and Anna Amelia (Mary) Nelson Mendenhall. Mom passed away April 7, 2013 at home from complications of severe dementia. Mom grew up in Princeton and later at the base of Gold Hill out of Princeton. She went to school in Princeton, leaving school after completing the 8th grade.

      On June 11, 1944 Vella married Forrest (Frog) E. Franklin at the Gold Hill home of her mother. Mom and Dad lived out of Princeton at the end of a road on what Dad called the Stump Ranch. It was after their daughter, Mary Jane, was born in 1946 that they got electricity. Dad had purchased a washing machine for Mom, but Dad said it sat on the back porch for two years before they knew if it worked.

      Later in their marriage Dad got a job with C.T.P.A. (Clearwater Timber Protective Association) and they lived in Elk River for two summers; Dad worked on the fire lines as well as his other various jobs. Mom cooked in the cook house preparing meals for the brush crew. Then in the winter months they would go back to the Stump Ranch and Dad would build cabins on skids for the brush crew.

      Later Dad was transferred to the C.T.P.A. in Headquarters. When they moved to Headquarters they lived year-round there. Then in 1953 Dad moved the family to Orofino so Mary Jane could go to school.

      Mom always loved to cook, be it on an old wood cook stove for a brush crew or finally in Orofino on an electric cook stove. The electric was much cooler for her in the summertime. Mom was most happy when she was baking or cooking for someone. Mom baked and decorated any kind of cake for anyone. They ranged from birthday to beautiful wedding cakes. She was self taught in decorating cakes.

      In March on 1958 Mom and Dad were blessed with a son, James E. (Jim) Franklin. Then eventually Mom's family grew to two granddaughters and one grandson. Then it grew again with one great granddaughter and two great grandsons; then eventually she had one great-great granddaughter.

      Mom made a beautiful wedding cake for the second granddaughters' wedding. It was really big and mom was not sure she hadn't taken on more than she could handle, but as usual, it turned out great! Mom also made Jim and Jenny's' wedding cake. Mom made the birthday cakes for her children and grandchildren and the first great granddaughter birthday cake as well.

      There was one other thing Mom really liked to do and that was to walk to the Post Office with her little dog, Suzy, in tow. You could see Mom and Suzy walking all over town paying bills or stopping to talk to someone. Mom loved to visit with anyone and never knew a stranger.

      Mom loved her church. Mom was a faithful member of the First Christian Church. She was so happy that the church was next door, so she could walk to church. She will be with the Savior now.

      Mom was preceded in death by both her parents, her husband, Forrest in 1992; and a grandson, Lance Corporal Bryan K. Cline United State Marine Corps in 1995.

      Mom is survived by her daughter, Mary Jane and Gary Cline; son, Jim and Jenny Franklin; granddaughters, Jo Lynn Marlatt and Audrey Cline; great grandchildren, Ashlee Spears, Jeremiah Whybark, Bryton Henderson; and great-great granddaughter; Bryanna Spears.

      Mom was much loved by her family and friends. She will be greatly missed.

      The viewing will be held at Pine Hills Funeral Chapel on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. with the funeral service at 11 a.m. with burial to follow at Orofino Riverside Cemetery. After services, there will be a dinner at the First Christian Church. Donations may be made to the First Christian Church in Mom's name.

      Pine Hills Funeral Chapel and Crematory is caring for arrangements.

Transcribed by Michal Berreth-Beck, 2014

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