Baker City, Oregon
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Vivian D. Holman-Harrison, 83, of Baker City, died April 28, 2003, at St. Elizabeth Health Services with her two children by her side.
At her request, there will be no service. Disposition was by cremation at Gray’s West Pioneer Crematory.
Vivian was born at Bremerton, Wash., and raised at Portland with her two sisters, Evelyn and Margaret. Vivian’s life as a young girl was anything but ordinary (just like her).
With a fun-loving, seam-stress/dancer mother, who immigrated from Hungary, and a father who had come from Germany, Vivian was taught to go after her dreams and passions and never compromise. Those who knew her well said these principles carried her proudly throughout her life.
At 19, she met the future father of her children, Carl Holman. They were married on Jan. 20, 1940, and soon after had their first child, Carl Jr., whom they affectionately called “Speed.” Their beloved son died at a very young age.
All the same, the struggling young couple headed for Baker City in 1946 with a shared dream of owning a photography studio. The couple’s mutual creative flair and ambition made their dream a reality. Holman Studio became a well-known business and one of the largest photographic studios in the nation.
Vivian’s independence was legendary and quite evident (to say the least) in everything she did, from the outfits she wore to the issues she loved to discuss. Her vivacious nature beckoned her to all corners of the world with camera in hand.
Nevertheless, whether shooting pictures of the natives in Machu Picchu, or hiding behind her famous rose bushes to capture the perfect shot of her unknowing grandchildren, family took the leading role in Vivian’s life.
Her two children, Yvonne and Gary, her grandchildren, Francisco and Alexander, her daughter-in-law, Celeste, son-in-law, Maurice, and her stepgrandchildren, Jodi and Kevin, were the recipients of her endless love and loyalty, not to mention her homemade cream puffs and newspaper clippings.
After the death of her husband, Carl Holman, she married Eldon Harrison in 1972. The two spent many winters in Arizona together, he improving his handicap and she reading, gardening and collecting the native turquoise jewelry she loved.
Even after Eldon’s death in 1991, Vivian kept moving, never losing sight of her interest and zeal in the world and all that it had to offer. Her colorful home boasted of adventure, with artifacts from Latin America, paintings from Singapore and souvenirs from the shores of Bali. Her flawless garden showed signs of a skillful and meticulous owner, and of course, weekly bridge soirees with “the girls” were essential to her schedule.
Although Vivian was from Portland, she always considered Baker City her home. She lived here for 57 years. But, like they say, “You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl.” Vivian was proud of her little corner of the world and in recent years, she loved volunteering with friends at the Oregon Trail Regional Museum. She felt it was an opportunity to give back to the community she had grown to love and respect.
In typical fashion, Vivian has requested something out of the ordinary. She hated funerals, memorials and solemn occasions, her family said. She would rather her friends and family celebrate her passing with fond memories and lots of love. Her wishes will be honored.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Friends of the Oregon Trail Regional Museum through Gray’s West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, May 9, 2003
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor