Louis L. Frank

January 31, 1917 –  December 8, 2011 

Louis L. Frank, 94, of Wheelock Terrace in Hanover and North Woodstock, NH, died December 8, 2011. “Lou” was born on January 31, 1917, in North Woodstock, the youngest of two children of the late Malvina Govoni Frank and Paul Frank (b. Paulo Franceschelli in Miranda, Abruzzi, Italy). He attended North Woodstock schools, graduating in 1935, and the University of New Hampshire, graduating in 1939, with a degree in civil engineering. Later he completed graduate work in engineering administration at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Lou was preceded in death in 2010 by his wife, Ruth Chatterton Frank, and in August, 2011, by his sister, Rita Frank Rand. He is survived by his daughters: Lynda Frank Sanders of Durham, NC, and Terry Frank Thompson of Hartland, VT; four grandchildren: Colclough Sanders Gomez, Kathleen Sanders Bekedam, Peter Alan Thompson and Sarah Ruth Thompson; three great grandsons and two nephews: Richard Gilbert Rand and Paul Frank Rand and their families of North Woodstock, NH. When Lou was at UNH he played on the baseball and football teams and joined the ski team while holding a part-time job and studying civil engineering. He also participated in the ROTC program, receiving a Second Lieutenant’s commission in the United States Marine Corps upon graduation. After a year of intense flight training, he was awarded his pilot’s wings and was assigned to a U.S. Navy flying unit on the USS Vincenes before Pearl Harbor. Lou flew his first combat mission with less than 400 hours flight time. In 1944 he was awarded the Air Medal and Citation for “meritorious achievement in aerial flight against Japanese forces.” He was also awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross. In all, he served as a pilot in three combat tours, two in World War II and one in Korea. Lou remained in the Marine Corps for twenty years, retiring in 1959. During his last tour, at the Pentagon, he headed the Guided Missile and Atomic Branch in the Strategic Plans Division of the Chief of Naval Operations. After retiring from military service, for the next ten years Lou–using his expertise in management and his knowledge of atomic weapons–worked in senior management positions of several companies in New England that specialized in defense contracts. In 1968 Lou and a partner, Ed Wallace, formed Patriot Industries, which acquired Patriot Pine and Sprague and Carleton, Inc., two furniture companies in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. As president of the company Lou consolidated furniture manufacturing at the Keene, N.H., plant and for the next 17 years made quality pine and hardwood furniture, which was marketed nationally and through the Patriot Shop in North Woodstock managed by his wife, Ruth. Always an ardent skier as well as an entrepreneur, Lou was an original incorporator of Loon Mountain Recreation Corporation. Opened in 1967, Loon was the brainchild of Sherman Adams, a governor of NH and former Chief of Staff in the Eisenhower administration. He, Lou and others worked together to establish the year-round resort to provide jobs for residents of surrounding towns at a time when the major employer in the area, Franconia Paper Corporation, was closing down. Lou served as Chairman of the Board for many years when it was a privately owned resort. Lou was never interested in retiring from business. In the mid 1980’s, in his seventies, he was one of four founders of Petrobank Energy, an international petroleum exploration company based in Calgary, Alberta, now listed on the Toronto and Oslo stock exchanges, with holdings in Canada and South America. He continued on the board of directors until his death. In addition, he and a partner, Duke Pointer, formed a real estate investment company, Stoneridge Management, to develop land in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for residential use. He continued to remain active in the business well into his 90’s. Soon after Lou retired from the Marine Corps, he and Ruth built a home in North Woodstock, on the property that had been owned by his mother and father since the early 20th century and where the seasonal family business, Govoni’s Italian restaurant, was located. Over the years Ruth and Lou added to the family property and eventually moved the restaurant, which had opened in 1917, across the road to a building that had been both a one-room school house and a gift shop. They built an updated kitchen and added a room overlooking Indian Leap on the scenic Mt. Moosilauke Brook just west of Agassiz Basin, named for the famous naturalist/geologist, Louis Agassiz. Now operated by Lou’s nephew, Paul Rand, Govoni’s has over the years employed many family members and friends and keeps everyone busy during the height of the summer tourist season. Lou was very proud of the restaurant and its history and loved hosting parties of friends and family there throughout the summer. Lou had many interests other than business. Always fiercely loyal to his family and friends and full of energy, he enjoyed working on the property on weekends with his father (a stone mason) and then his nephews. They cut wood, built and maintained the foot bridges over the river and built stone walls. In the 1970’s he started a greenhouse business for his property manager, Roland Bourassa, which grew and sold bedding plants to the local motels and tourist attractions. Lou was passionate about hunting and fishing, especially fly fishing. Every year for almost 30 years he went to Alaska with a group of friends to fish for salmon. Before fresh Alaskan salmon was readily available in US fish markets, he would bring back coolers full of vacuum-packed salmon steaks and filets for Ruth, an excellent cook, to serve to friends and family. Lou had a life-long love of flying and a particular interest in military aviation. For several years he served on the board of directors at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, N.H., known for its aviation sciences and aeronautical engineering curriculum. He was also active in supporting the Collings Foundation, which produces “living history” events to educate people about vintage transportation. Since the mid 1980’s the Foundation has been buying and restoring World War II and Vietnam aircraft. Lou especially enjoyed attending many of the Foundation’s air shows, talking with friends and colleagues about his flying experiences while in the Marines and in private life. In 2009, Lou established the Louis and Ruth Frank Professorship in Neuroscience at Dartmouth/Hitchcock Medical Center in honor of his and Ruth’s long-time neurologist, Dr. James L. Bernat, who holds the inaugural chair. This is the first endowed chair in neurology at Dartmouth and one of the few that honors excellence in clinical practice and teaching. In 2010, as a tribute to his wife Ruth, who was an artist and supporter of the North Country Center for the Arts, Lou made a major contribution to the Center’s new building now being built in Lincoln, NH. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10am Saturday, January 7, 2012, at St. Joseph Church, Church Street, Lincoln, NH. Rev Nicholas Sanella and Rev David Kneeland will co-celebrate the Mass. Burial will be in the spring at Woodstock Cemetery, Woodstock, NH. Calling hours will be held from 6:00 – 8:00 pm Friday, January 6, 2012, at Fournier-Hale Funeral Home, 144 Main Street, North Woodstock, NH. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Collings Foundation, P.O. Box 248, Stow, MA 01775; or to the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire, 13 East Perimeter Road, Londonderry, NH 03053; or to the Wheelock Terrace Staff Development Fund, Terrace Communities Foundation, 129 Lincoln Ave., Manchester Center, VT 05255. Online guestbook at www.fournier-hale.com.

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