Cover photo for Vivian Eccleston's Obituary
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1925 Vivian 2022

Vivian Eccleston

December 20, 1925 — February 2, 2022

Vivian M. Eccleston, passed on February 2, 2022, age 96, in Chandler, AZ with her daughter Cindy by her side.

Born in Standish, NY, she was the daughter of Joseph and Rose (Rule) McCormick. She grew up in a large, loving family where being together was cherished. As the siblings grew older, several family reunions were held, first at Lake Colby and later at Donna’s house on the lake. Several generations would gather to catch up, enjoy each other’s company and perhaps a hearty game of Pinochle or Zing. She might even come up with a “Vivianism”, - an off-the-wall but endearing comment about some everyday topic that had people falling on the floor laughing. Vivian made it a point to spend time talking with each person and making them feel loved and a valued part of “The Family”.

She worked at the Black and White Restaurant and Remington Rand in the Mohawk Valley, NY. She married Paul Eccleston, an engineer who worked at Remington Arms, in Saranac Lake, NY. They settled on the Dutchtown Road in Schuyler,and were married for 28 years until his passing. Many school friends of her daughters & neighbors were welcomed at their home “out in the country”, where they enjoyed riding snowmobiles, swimming in the pool, or having parties and sleepovers. Vivian made everyone who visited feel welcome and loved being the gracious and happy hostess.

She also belonged to the Schuyler Home Bureau and helped with the local 4H group Frankfort PTA, color guard, choirs, and drama groups her daughters were involved with.

After her husband’s death, she moved to her beloved Adirondack Mountain region where many of her family and friends resided. She most recently lived in the Greenwood Apartments in Lake Placid, where she made many friends and was the happy face that greeted residents on Mondays when they came down to purchase 50/50 tickets.

Vivian was a joyous and optimistic person. Her faith, family, and friends provided the foundation upon which she built her life. She was a long-time member of St. Bernard’s Church of Saranac Lake, serving as a sacristan & Eucharistic minister, a member of St. Peter and Paul’s Church in Frankfort, NY, and also attended St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid. She was a devoted member of the Catholic Daughters of America where she met her good friend Mary Lou Cassavaugh. She belonged to a Thursday morning ladies rosary group. A breast and colon cancer survivor, she often participated in the Lake Placid Tri Lakes Relay for Life for cancer survivors, accompanied by Sister Carol. Many of her travels were religion-centered. She and Cindy traveled to Italy where she saw the Pope say mass in the Vatican. They also visited Portugal to visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, and Alabama to visit EWTN where she appeared on TV. She traveled with a church group to the holy city of Jerusalem. On her travels, she always made it a point to attend mass at local Catholic churches.

Despite her small stature, Vivian was a strong woman, surviving many obstacles life put in her path. Proudly independent & still driving herself to numerous activities, she often said, “I’m not going to slow down!” and “I can do it myself!” Young at heart, always smiling and kind hearted, she embraced life and lived it to the fullest.

When asked what she was doing on Tuesday nights, her reply was often “I’m going dancing!” with Tom and Mary Lou Cassavaugh. She loved dancing to the music provided by the Saranac Hollow Jammers, often accompanying them on her harmonica. Her feet flying while doing the jitterbug or jig, laughing, and nodding her head to the rhythm is a favorite memory among many.

Since she was a child, Vivian was an avid amateur bowler. She had been a member of numerous leagues including the Remington Arms women's league in the 1950’s and most notably the Sara-Placid WBA and the Old as You Feel Senior League at Romano’s Saranac Lanes. In 2006 she placed first in her division in the NYSWBA Senior Single Division, & went on to the National Tournament held in Reno, Nevada where she finished seventh.

Vivian gave willingly and generously of her time and talents. She made countless delicious and well-loved pumpkin rolls for family, friends, neighbors, and numerous bake sales and potlucks. Her tasty gifts often raised the spirits of those facing challenges and let them know she cared about them. She could often be found crocheting tiny preemie baby hats along with her sisters Sharon and Donna for the children at CVPH Hospital. Each year Vivian and her good friend Dottie Metz, whom she also had bowled with, could be found sewing hundreds of aprons with pockets for the Altar Rosary Society.

She loved music, especially country, religious standards, and hymns. She played harmonica with the Greenwood Band, which played for apartment residents as well as churches and area nursing homes including Uihlein. It filled her with pride that playing music for “the older people” gave them something to look forward to and much comfort. She also played in the St. Bernard’s church hand bell choir with her dear friend Marilyn Harvey for several years. Though never formally trained, she could play anything “by ear”.

She was well-loved by her family and community. For her 90th birthday celebration in Bloomingdale,182 people attended and enjoyed food, fun, and music celebrating one of Saranac’s most well-known and loved residents.

Vivian appreciated the simple things in life, like looking at birds outside her apartment window, gathering and enjoying coffee and Dunkin Donuts with her girlfriends, and more recently, planting raised gardens with her daughter in Arizona. She developed an avid interest in taking pictures from an early age, and shared that hobby, as well as a love of crafts, with her daughter Paula.

Vivian was predeceased by her husband Paul in 1986, and her siblings Helen, Francis (Sonny), Kathleen (Kay), Geraldine Joyce (Ducky), June (Eileen), John, Mary Theresa, Richard (Dicky), and Patrick (Pat). She is survived by her daughters Paula (Matt Corsaro), VA, and Cindy (Dan Leiro), AZ, her granddaughter Tianna Shaw, VA., sisters Sharon (Richard Barry), Saranac Lake, NY, Donna Moody, Morrisonville NY, sister-in-law Carolyn McCormick, and several generations of nieces and nephews who adored “Aunt Viv.”

Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, Saranac Lake, NY is handling funeral arrangements, to be finalized for a June funeral and interment in St. Bernard Cemetery, Saranac Lake, where she will be laid to rest with her parents and several siblings. A Celebration of Life will also be held at that time.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Catholic Daughters of America or St. Bernard’s Scholarship Fund in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY 12983.
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