School 31

Vivien (Despotopulos) Forbes

October 28, 2020

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SALEM – Vivien K. (Despotopulos) Forbes 78, of North Reading, formerly of Salem, died October 28, 2020 following an extended illness.

 Born in Lynn, she was the daughter of the late Nicholas and Kay (Stasinopulos) Despotopulos. She was raised and educated in Salem and was a graduate of Salem High School. After earning her Bachelor's Degree at Western College in Oxford, Ohio, her inquisitive mind as well as her gift for languages led Vivien to continue her studies. She earned a Master's Degree in French from Middlebury College, a course she completed by studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.

 An Educator and linguistics professional, Vivien taught French and Spanish at Salem High School for many years, and took great pride in sharing her passion with her beloved students. Throughout her life, she enjoyed speaking highly proficient Greek, which she learned in childhood, with her relatives and friends.

         A long-time resident of the City of Salem, Vivien was an active member of Grace Episcopal Church in Salem. She expressed her love for music and singing as a member of the Grace Church Choir for 15 years and as a member of the Paul Madore Chorale for 20 years. Among her professional memberships, she was part of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and her volunteer work included her seat on the Salem Cultural Council. At her nursing facility, she acted as Resident Council President to represent resident concerns for several years. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt who will be deeply missed.

  Vivien is survived by her daughters, Erika Forbes of Pittsburgh, PA and Jessica Forbes Bird and her husband John Bird of Andover, her granddaughter, Claudia Knopes, her sister, Heidi Despotopulos and her husband John O’Hara of Beverly, her niece Kate O'Hara and nephew Nick O'Hara, and many cherished cousins.

ARRANGEMENTS: Relatives and friends are invited to join the family remotely for her funeral service at, on Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 11 A.M. It will be tributecast. A public Memorial will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Salem in the spring of 2021. Assisting the family with the arrangements is O’Donnell – Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations, 84 Washington Sq., Salem, MA 01970. Expressions of sympathy may be made in Vivien’s memory to Middlebury College, Gift Administration, Middlebury Office of Advancement, 700 Exchange Street, Middlebury, VT 05753. Please note in the memorandum the donation should be directed to Middlebury School in France for student scholarships, honoring Vivien Forbes.  Vivien’s family welcomes written condolences and remembrances. You can share your memories of Vivien by visiting

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Funeral Service
November 21, 2020

11:00 AM
The O'Donnell Funeral Home
84 Washington Square
Salem, MA 01970

Video is available for this event

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