Vivian Lake

Obituary of Vivian Lake

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Vivian Frances Lake, 94, of Staunton, VA passed away March 1, 2023.

She was born on April 21, 1928, in New York City, daughter of the late Joseph B. & Theresa M. Monaco.

After meeting and marrying the love of her life Harry Lake Jr on June 18, 1949, they bought their first home in Englishtown, NJ and grew to add three children. Over the years they resided in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and finally Virginia.

Vivian and Harry travelled extensively for both family and business trips, to the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Mexico, road trips across the US and her favorite Italy.

Vivian showcased her fabulous cooking and hostess skills for countless dinner parties, birthdays, holidays, and casual events. Her homes were beautifully decorated and immaculate. Her dinner table was always elegant and stylish. As they became empty nesters, Vivian took on interior decorating for others, assisting others with their landscaping plans and became a successful realtor.

Vivian and Harry retired to Virginia Beach in 1988. They began an extensive remodel of the home they purchased in Bird Neck Point.

Sadly, after Harry’s passing in December of 1988, Vivian had to navigate becoming a young widow at 60.

She became involved in many clubs in the Virginia Beach area. The Garden Club, Bridge Club, and Italian Club (becoming fluent in the language as well). She made many friends, and other opportunities arose for her to travel to places with friends and family.

She travelled to Alaska, Greece, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland and back to her favorite destination of Italy on numerous occasions.

Always a body in motion, she enjoyed golf, long beach walks, bike riding, antiquing, and shopping for hours. She spent the most time in her garden. Her gardens were a piece of art. Meticulously designed and picture perfect. She knew her horticulture.  

She was also a talented seamstress and knitter. Many can recall having their Halloween costume, prom dress, draperies, tailored pants, blankets, sweaters created by Vivian.

She continued to have those family gatherings at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as family get togethers and birthday celebrations well into her nineties. Of course, without question, her cooking was phenomenal and delectable. Wine and Limoncello was always readily available. Her Christmas baking was legendary, those who could not attend were always shipped a box of her cookie and pastry delights including Italian Flag cookies, Bell cookies, Pignoli’s, Peach Pockets, Biscotti Regina (Queen’s Biscuits) and Pizzelles. Mention also needs to be made of her famous pies and cakes, Pumpkin, Banana Cream, Upside Down Pineapple, Apple, and Sour Cream Apple. The most famous cake is the “The Apple Cake”.

In the last few years, she spent more time with family, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, telling family stories, teaching them recipes, handing out decorating tips and about life. Each Sunday still included Pasta, the famous sauce with meatballs and sausage (that no one can replicate), made the final Sunday of her life. Her dinners always came with an appetizer of antipasto, spanakopita, clam’s casino or stuffed mushrooms. Vivian was a true Matriarch. Strong, independent, loved, respected and wise.


Vivian was predeceased by her parents Joseph B. & Theresa M. Monaco, her husband Harry Lake Jr., her sister Florence K. Suesholtz and her son Kevin A. Lake.

She is survived by her daughter Sharon L. Lake-Gargano (Rick), son Joseph H. Lake (Cassandra) and Helen Lake (wife of Kevin A. Lake).

Her grandchildren, Katherine M. Pezzulich, Nancy J. Bransfield, Tammylee A. Lake-Garcia (Samuel), Harry Lake III, Ryan J. Lake, Gabriela I. Mason (Jarvis II) and Amanda A. Meyer (Dean).

Her great-grandchildren, Robert A. M. Romero, Samuel R. Garcia Jr., Shelby F. Bransfield, Vivian E. N. Bransfield, Isabella K. Garcia, Mariah I.E. Mason, Jarvis E. Mason III, Stella A. Meyer, and Isla M. Meyer.

Family will receive friends on Friday March 24, 2023, from 5:00 P.M to 9:00 P.M at Freeman Funeral Home, 47 East Main Street, Freehold. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 10:30 A.M. at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Old Tennent Cemetery, 454 Tennent Rd, Manalapan Township, NJ.


Vivian loved her garden and so many other beautiful gardens throughout the world – please plant a tree, bush, or flower in her memory in your own garden.


“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door”

          Emily Dickenson