Frank unselfishly gave so much to so many people. I was fortunate to know Frank for more than half my life. There is no doubt in my mind Frank was instrumental in shaping the person I am today, I have always considered him a mentor and friend. Their are countless other whom I am sure would say the same
As a young person, Frank helped instill in me the idea I had the ability to achieve anything I set my mind to. As someone who had been told by other educators that my learning disability would limit me , Frank created a space for me to feel valued and empowered for the first time in my life. Throughout the years working with Frank, he gave me a path to what is now my professional career and I am eternally thankful to him.
You can’t talk about Frank and not give mention to a major theme of his life, his sense of humor. It was woven into everything he did, he was always able to make all the hard work we did together fun. One of the biggest parts about knowing Frank was knowing how to laugh and enjoy life.
I will never forget all Frank gave me.
- Josh Heller
Frank was after all my closest friend and for 28 years a business partner. We went many places and shared many experiences with the kids of Peers. Add to that mix, all the times Frank and I spent ganging up on Pat (who I adopted as my second sister). The laughter that we all shared was endless along with the serious business of creating a program that kids could relate too. Peers was a perfect outlet for Frank who in many ways was a kid at heart. The success of Peers can be attributed to Franks kindness, caring, devotion and enormous vision and talent that he shared with everyone who he met. He cared so much for everyone. He cared about the message that Peers was delivering and how it was being received. He cared for the kid that was very gifted and moving well through life. But equally reached out to the kids that were struggling to find a way, a passage to their future. His absentmindedness was one of the things that made you love this guy and laugh endlessly. But never be fooled by Franks enormous wisdom and ability to get the job done. I watched him grow as a Film maker, Editor, Writer, Producer and yes...Singer. His love for music and theater was exceptional. He was exceptional....I don't believe that he will be missed, simply because he left such a long lasting impression on everyone no one will ever forget him.
However....I miss him everyday.
Frank, the grief keeps coming in waves. As I read through the incredibly moving tributes to you on Facebook, I keep asking myself how it is that you were able to touch the lives of so many students and yet--somehow--make each one of us feel like we just lost a beloved uncle, or even, a parent. And I think the answer lies in the fact that each of us took a little bit of you with us as we embarked on our lives. Each of us remembers what you did for us, the sparkle in your eye, your love of life, your sense of mischief, your unwavering passion.
Last night, my sadness kept me awake so I sat on my couch and thought about you. You met generation after generation of eager students with the same level of enthusiasm as if you were teaching/mentoring for the very first time. You had a way of making every single person in the room feel like she sparkled. You and Patricia and Buck taught us to cover extremely serious subject matter while simultaneously encouraging us to live with a bounce in our step and a joke at the ready. Your energy was boundless and your love for your work was apparent in every project you produced. And your friendship didn’t end with your students; you became a household name for so many families up and down the Hudson Valley. You became the reason countless students went on to study film, writing, and theatre. You gave the kids who felt out of place a voice. And yet, it never felt forced or contrived--you, my dear friend, were always the genuine article.
Yes, I think the truth is that we’ve each kept a little bit of Frank for ourselves and that we always will. And don’t worry--you’re not going anywhere because we are still carrying you with us in everything we do. Maybe you didn’t know, all those years ago when you decided to start working with teenagers and fiddling around with video production, that you would become a hero to so many. I think you were just doing it for fun (which, of course, is the best reason to do anything!). I just hope that you can feel all of us now, missing you like crazy and wishing we could give you one last hug. Thank you, Frank, for making all of us feel like we had a home with you. Thank you for the jokes and the adventures and the spirit and the passion. Thank you for being an uncle, and even, a parent to so many of us. You are a gem. We love you.