Vivian Margarette Lear VanHorn, of New Orleans, LA, peacefully passed away on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at the age of 99. She was born in Pascagoula, MS, on October 31, 1919, and moved with her family to New Orleans about 1925. She is survived by her half-sister Kathryn Lear Dorman, her nieces Janice Lear and Lori Dorman Matherne (Mark), and her nephews John Brener, Edward Dorman and Stephen Dorman and “adopted” step-daughter Jude Famiglia. Preceded in death by her husband Leslie VanHorn, her loving companion of 22 years Joseph Famiglia, her mother Cleo Hardy Lear Brener (Morris), her father Cecil H. Lear (Theresa), a brother Cecil H. Lear, Jr., and her sister Edna Lear Cleland. Also survived by several great nieces and nephews.
Vivian was a commercial photographer who was spotlighted in a 1981 Times Picayune article featuring professional women and their contributions to the city. She was married to Leslie VanHorn, a well-known and successful local photographer who specialized in photographing dignitaries and celebrities visiting New Orleans during the late 1940’s, 1950s and early 1960’s. During their marriage Vivian first assisted as a model posing with celebrities, and later she began learning to use the cameras, develop film and make prints. Her late husband advised her to “Just go out and shoot the picture. But, whatever you do when you’re taking a picture of people, don’t cut off their head – just their feet”. Vivian credits former Mayor Vic Schiro for giving her the push that she needed after her husband died. “He told me to get of the dark room and into the public eye. Let them see you work.” he advised. From that point on, until her retirement in the mid 1980’s, she could be found around town taking pictures of Mardi Gras balls, debutante parties in the Fair Grounds clubhouse, weddings, and various commercial shoots for the New Orleans Builders Association.
Vivian had a wonderful smile and a zest for life unmatched. As a dear friend once commented “Vivian is not one in a million, she is one in the world”. She will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.
A Memorial Mass followed by a repast will be held at JACOB SCHOEN & SON, 3827 Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm. The family will receive friends and loved ones from 11:30 am until the time of the Mass.