American Indian arrowhead

LaWana Franzen

In Loving Memory
born: June 11, 1927
died: February 22, 2015
I've layed around and played around this old town too long ...
image of Mom from the 1950s
Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Sister, Friend

from Zenna

Reflecting on Mom's Life

Mom came from a long line of pioneers, she was a strong woman and well ahead of her time.  She probably wouldn't describe herself as one, but I think she was a "feminist" before the word was invented.  She was a very intelligent woman and her tastes were wide.

She sought knowledge on her own her entire life.  She studied Astrology, and tested and received an Astrology Certificate.  She did it just because she wanted too -- not to do charts professionally, but just for family and friends.  She studied Egyptology and her room is a reflection of her favorite period of time, with many framed papyrus paintings and Egyptian themed décor.

She was an avid reader, almost every genre imaginable.  She had a Kindle, and she was reading up to the end.  She believed in the metaphysical, Karma, reincarnation, that she had already lived many lives, and had many more to live to reach Enlightenment.  Her library consists of books by Rampa, Pike, and Cayce along with King, Koontz, and McBain.

She loved movies and we watched so many together on DVD.  When I was a young teen she took me to see Gone With The Wind in a theater when it was re-released.  In that tradition, my sisters and I all took our daughters to a showing.

Her musical taste was vast. She loved everything from Classical to Queen.  Her favorite opera was La Boheme but she loved all.  Big Band music and Glenn Miller were favorites.  She and Dad took me to see The Mills Brothers in Las Vegas when I was sixteen, a big night out for "the grownups".  She loved Rock n Roll and learned to do the "Twist" before I did.  She was a wonderful dancer and her favorite was the Rumba, but she really loved all Latin dances. 

She was Hollywood Star glamorous, sexy and modest at the same time.  Mom was more that just physically beautiful.  She had a beautiful, loving heart and soul.  She was more than smart, she was intelligent and never stopped studying subjects that interested her.  She was funny and fun, witty and sharp.  I believe she passed on all of those traits to each of us.  We are an inquisitive, curious bunch with wide and far-flung interests.

All from this amazing woman who felt ashamed because she never went to high school.  I don't think high school would have done her any service, she was beyond that knowledge.  The desire to know is what drove her and that legacy goes on.  We all learned to love to read, to question, to learn, to be ourselves.  I don't remember learning to read, I always could.  I think I learned in utero.

As a tribute to both Grandmas, my daughter Megan got a new tattoo.  (editor's note: Megan's other grandmother died just a month before LaWana.  Double whammy.)  An Ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life with the top in the shape of a heart since they both had huge hearts as does Megan, who is all about hearts.  I feel that unconsciously she was symbolizing they would live in her heart forever.  I've always wanted to get a tattoo, now I think I know what to get.

LaWana McGilvra was the fourth child born to John and Minerva Jolley-McGilvra. The McGilvra siblings were Noran, Guyla and Zenneth, who all preceded LaWana in death.  John and Minerva divorced when LaWana was an infant.  Minerva married Lee Jorgensen when LaWana was around one.  They had three more children, Leland, Bethyl and Alna.  Lee and Alna also preceded LaWana in death.  Bethyl is her only surviving sibling.

LaWana married Richard Franzen and is survived by their five children, their children, and their children's children (spouse names italicized):

Zenna (Jerry) Hall: Eric (Lisa): Alyssa, Logan, and Dean Hall Ryan (DeeAnn): Conner Hall Shannon (Shawn): Sophie Seward Megan (Colin): Aidan Woith Vonna (Jeff) Smith: Trevor Franzen
Danna (Don Conner) Franzen:
Brandi (Jim): Madison, McKenzie, Parker, and Peyton Bonn Heather (Ben Iddings) Wilkinson: Hyacinth Iddings Junna Franzen: Bryan (Gretchen): Alexis Nelson Brooke (Chris): Taylor and Kennedy O'Brien Rich Franzen

Danna was born on LaWana's birthday.  After four girls, Rich was born on Richard's birthday.

Comment at Facebook

image of Mom from the 1980s, making a toast

image of Mom's 5 kids
Her Immediate Legacy
taken 1961 in Rough and Ready, California
Dickie, Vonna, Zenna, Danna, and Junna

image of Megan's Tattoo
Megan's Tattoo

Mom, I know if you were here, you would tell us

All is well. partial sermon, The King of Terrors

from Vonna

image of Vonna's hotei

Hotei is known as The Laughing Buddha.  He portrays joy and enlightened being, our birthright and most consummate inheritance.  How fitting that I should inherit this charming figure from my dear mother.  I cherish it.  My son, Trevor, had gifted the shellac stand to me, which was seemingly custom-made for this lovable Hotei.

To Mother's ashes:
from dust to dust we all go.
Together we bow.

© 2015 by Vonna Smith

poem recited by Vonna at our candle ceremony

Crossing the Bar
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

LaWana has 5 children, 9 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, to total 27 descendants.  The flames of 27 tea candles represent one offspring each.  LaWana's only surviving sibling, Bethyl, lit one candle to represent herself as well as one for each of their 5 late siblings.

Each tea candle received its flame, its life, from the candle flame held by the angel, which represents LaWana, our beloved Mother and Big Sister.
heart icon
We each carry the flame of LaWana's life within our own heart.

Crossing the Bar, with music

by Salamander Crossing
at YouTube

candle ceremony, dark
During Ceremony

from Danna

Mom in 1958
1958, Oshkosh, WI
Remember: A Video Tribute to Mom
© 2015 Danna Franzen

The Surprise
© 2008 Danna Franzen

Mom's 81st surprise birthday --
She did not know family from all over the USA would show.
Mom in 1958
1967, Phoenix, AZ

Mom, December 2001 poem, Do not Stand at my Grave and Weap Mom, September 2004

She was born LaWana McGilvra, no middle name.  She grew up knowing herself as LaWana Jorgensen.  When she married, she became LaWana Franzen (a surname more than one of her daughters claims to this day). She was later called Sam, sometimes Sammy, by her dear friends Mary Tabitha and Jackie — and it stuck. 

But where was that middle name?  Cheated, she snatched one up for herself: Ru'byn.  This name held great significance.  A family name, with a mysterious apostrophe in place of the e.  The apostrophe meant so many things ... femininity, numerology, astrology.  No name can express the full measure of the person, but these were a part of her.  McGilvra-Jorgensen-Franzen. Sam or Sammy.  Ru'byn. 

And LaWana.  Always and forever, beautiful LaWana.  Mom, Mother, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Sister, Friend.  All of that and more, always so much more than a name.

B&W rose w/text a rose by any other name

from Junna

some of Junna's memories of Mom
I Remember

from Rich

image of Mom's urn with flower
Mom's Urn

Concerning Mom's Ashes

They is what they is
cuz the guy
at the crematorium
said they is.
is they is what they ain't, too?
Of course.
7% Donald Logan,
5% Rebecca Smith,
and 3% miscellaneous unknown,
and of course what they is.
(I hope you are remembered, Donald and Rebecca.)
they is what they is and they is what they ain't.
they is what they is
cuz her children say they is,
Mom's ashes.

-- even me

© 2015 by Rich Franzen

Mom getting ready to throw shoeMom at Great Salt LakeMom with huge grocery bag

from Aunt Bethyl

Bethyl's collage, with poem, dedication, and image of Mom
To Lawana poem © 2015 by Jack McMillan

We all live under the same sky
but we follow different stars.

from LaWana

LaWana assesses herself
LaWana Assesses Herself (circa 1985)

Mom got her first computer in 1981.  It was a TRS-80 Color Computer with 32 kbytes of RAM and Extended Color BASIC.  It used a television for its screen and a cassette tape player for external memory.  Until she upgraded to an Amiga 500 in 1988, her journal entries were recorded on cassette tape and printed out with an inexpensive dot matrix printer.

orange rose within bouquet
Orange Rose from the Candle Ceremony

Let's get some cookens that are already chicked.

(Spooneristic dinner suggestion, early 1960s)

pottery shards in frame forming ceramic pot
Mom would form art from pottery shards found near Kanab, Utah.

Franzen Kids, couch and floor
Magna, Utah
(from top left) Danna, Zenna, Vonna, Dickie, Junna

Bethyl with display boxes
word 'family' in script
Vonna, Danna, LaWana, Zenna, Rich, Junna
Testifiers:  Bethyl, Vonna, Danna, LaWana, Zenna, Rich, Junna

counter  Accesses
since 10 May 2015
Last Updated 8 February 2023
top   —   Site Home
Gotta Travel On (YouTube)
Stars background image