It is with sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved board member, Frans Lowell Victorson, 63, on May 20, 2011.
Frans was born to Reverend Frans A. and Elsie Victorson on April 26, 1948, in Des Moines, Iowa. His boyhood in Saint Joseph, Michigan, was filled with swimming and sailing, camping and canoeing, cross country track, his Honda motorbike, forest green MGB and friendships that would last a lifetime. Frans was active in the life of Saron Lutheran Church and in scouting. Frans attained the rank of Eagle Scout, trekked the rugged, rocky mountain trails of Philmont Scout Ranch’s high-adventure base near Cimarron, New Mexico, and attended the 50th Anniversary National Jamboree at Colorado Springs. In 1963 he represented American scouts by participating in ceremonies at which monarchs of the Scandinavian countries were presented with the Gold Lamb Award for their leadership of the scouting movement in their countries.
Through his college years Frans worked in construction and plumbing trades. After graduation from Eastern Michigan University he moved to Maine where he taught middle school science and embraced the opportunity to live near the sea and sail at every opportunity.
When Frans moved to North Carolina he began what would become a 22 year career at GlaxoSmithKlein. He began as Research Investigator and retired in 2008 as Manager of the Pilot Plant responsible for its operations and materials management earning the respect of his colleagues for his thorough approach and commitment to excellence. He continued his active lifestyle, running, biking, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing. He moors Saga, his wooden-hulled 42-foot Dickerson ketch, at Washington, NC. He taught numerous novice sailors the joys … and the challenges of capturing the wind on the open sea.
Throughout his life, Frans enjoyed sharing not only his love of sailing, but his Nordic heritage, his ‘fix-it’ guy expertise and his giving nature, with all he met. He gave vacation time to filling sandbags on the Mississippi River, participated in numerous Habitat for Humanity projects, served on the board of Faith Lutheran School (Raleigh) and was honored to be a member of the Board of Directors of Kristin Linnea Skvarla Foundation which carries forward the spirit and endeavors of his niece who shared his compassion for others as well as his example of reaching out a helping hand.
Frans had special enthusiasm for time shared with family and friends. His family, sister Madelynn (David) Skvarla, nieces Sonja and Kristin (deceased) Skvarla, nephew Kai (Julie) Skvarla and grandnephew Anders, as well as extended family and friends young and old, will smile to remember him as, characterized by a young friend, “an obscenely generous, loving, open and caring soul … and a bit of an engineering dork to boot!”
A memorial service for Frans was celebrated at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, at 2 PM, Tuesday, May 24. Memorial contributions to Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (www.curemeso.org), Kristin Linnea Skvarla Foundation (www.klsf.org or 3063 Crestwood Lane, Glenview, IL 60025) or to a charity of the donor’s choice were invited.
The Kristin Linnea Skvarla Foundation (KLSF) supports individuals who strive to discover, explore and positively change our world, primarily in the areas of education and community development. Our objectives are to extend the reach of individuals who commit themselves to serving others, create educational opportunities particularly in underserved communities and advance sustainable projects that contribute to long-term development of communities. We encourage grant recipients to “pass on the gift” by planning for co-investment of human capital and sustainability in each of the projects we support.
Through the Foundation, Kristin’s friends and family embrace the communities and organizations that she served in both rural and inner city America as well as in Namibia. Although we are missing Kristin, her spirit inspires us to seek the best in ourselves, to invest in the potential of individuals who positively change our world and to joyfully celebrate the gifts of the friendships she has left with us. By the tenth anniversary of KLSF in 2010 over 60 scholarships which provide a full year’s tuition, board and room and examination fees have been awarded to learners in grades nine through twelve at Saint Boniface College, Sambyu, Namibia. Six individuals from the Okavango area of Namibia have been awarded grants allowing them to pursue studies beyond high school. More than 25 projects identified and led by WorldTeach volunteers have provided schools and communities in Southern Africa and The Marshall Islands with seed money to enhance learning and quality of village life. Students from Chicago’s west side, who attend Providence St. Mel School and the Camp of Dreams Program during the school year, receive scholarships to participate in summer enrichment activities which provide new windows on the world and inspiration for learning.