SVG ex-teachers group ‘deeply mourn’ former vice prez Francis Frank

The late Vice President of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York, Francis Frank.
Jennifer Frank

The Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York is deeply mourning the death of its former Vice President Francis Frank, who was afflicted with renal disease and was ailing for 10 years. He was 71.

Jennifer Frank, Frank’s only biological daughter, told Caribbean Life that her father, who had lived in Brooklyn since 1977, died, on Jan. 28, at Four Season’s Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center on Rockaway Boulevard in Brooklyn two hours after he was discharged from the hospital.

Ms. Frank said her dad, who had End-Stage Renal Failure, died from cardiac respiratory arrest.

Funeral Service for Francis Elliott Frank took place on Tues., Feb. 9 at Church of St. Mark’s, 1417 Union St., Brooklyn.

Frank, who was born in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital, grew up in the adjacent Arnos Vale, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers’ Association of New York said in a statement that “Brother Frank, as we affectionately called him, was a stalwart member.

“When our Vice President, Maureen Alexander, died unexpectedly, more than a decade ago, he readily stepped in and performed competently the functions of the office,” it said. “As fate would have it, not many years later his health began to deteriorate.

“Despite this, Brother Frank, a strong man, remained resolute,” the group added. “Not once did he complain about his physical condition, nor did he allow his circumstances to deter him and/or define his purpose. His strength, courage and tenacity impelled him. And, it is from these attributes that we can derive our inspiration, our paradigm, as we encounter our daily challenges.

“We have learned much about resiliency from Brother Frank,” the SVG Ex-Teachers continued. “He did not rest on his laurels. He was his greatest advocate, as he avidly pursued medical research into his condition and explored avenues for health improvement. To this end, he dictated letters regarding his adversity and approved them all prior to mailing.”

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers’ Association of New York said that, even from the nursing home, where Frank resided for many years, he was a regular contributor to the organization’s journal.

“His reach was extensive, covering both fictional and non-fictional articles,” it said. “But it was in the realm of non-fiction that he excelled, governed by his great love and knowledge of history.”

Following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol in Washington DC, the group said Frank embarked on an in-depth search of the archives to find historical evidence of any similar events, stating that his findings would have been “an educational feast and feature in our next magazine.”

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers’ Association of New York said Frank contributed generously of his time and talents to the well-being of others.

“In fact, it is precisely this recognition of his nobility of spirit, rather than any reciprocity, that enabled him to consistently sell numerous tickets to our SVGEXTA annual luncheon even though confined to his nursing facility bed,” it said. “But his generosity did not end there, nor was his keen ear and eye closed to external events.”

Just a few weeks after learning that one of (his) patrons had passed, Frank sent the family a card offering his commiserations, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers’ Association of New York said.

It said that following his surgery at NYC Langone Hospital, Frank “tangibly expressed his appreciation” by initiating the presentation of a plaque to the doctors by the organization in recognition of their outstanding performance.

“Such was the measure of the man,” said the ex-teachers, adding that before his passing, the group agreed that its Black History Month presentation, “Lessons Learned from COVID-19”, scheduled for Friday, Feb 25, 2022, would be held for the second consecutive year via Zoom.

“As a former public relations officer of the group, we believe that he would applaud this bold attempt to publish the event notwithstanding the sad occasion,” the group added. “Because of him, therefore, we are able to make this proclamation that even in this pandemic the strength of the spirit can compensate for and triumph over the weakness of the body.

“Brother Frank’s demise is a great loss not only for the SVG Ex-Teachers’ family but the Vincentian Community as well,” it continued. “As we mourn deeply, our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family. Rest in peace, dear brother.”

According to the obituary, read by Dr. Herman Ambris, a physician and the group’s executive member, at the funeral service, “Brother Frank’s” other community service included membership in the Arnos Vale Cultural and Sports Club; the Independent United Order of Mechanics; Western Hemisphere in SVG; and the Star of Bethlehem Lodge #12 in New York.

Frank also “did outstanding work” as chairperson of the Fundraising Committee of the Brooklyn-based Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations (COSAGO), the umbrella Vincentian group in the US, and as a committee member for the Caribbean American Renal Failure Relief Fund, the obituary says.

“In his last years, as a resident of the Four Seasons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center here in Brooklyn, even as he acknowledged gratitude for the attention and care, his sharp wit, sense of humor and capacity for observation and critique did not suffer,” it says. “He continued to express his amazement at the different personalities, their degree of dedication and interest, and the level of attention he received and observed.

“Those in contact with him in recent months remain amazed that during long phone conversations as he lay in his bed, he kept a keen memory and continued to reference history and writings for aspects pertaining to our existence and reality,” it adds.

The obituary says that “Brother Frank did not keep secrets; however, many of his acquaintances are unaware that he was a caring and protective husband to Mera Waterman Frank, also known as Jean Feddows by all who know her best.

“He was also a proud and unconditionally loving father to Jennifer, who he trusted to manage when he passed on,” it adds.

Frank is also survived by his stepchildren Maxwell, Elvis, Roland, Juliet, Adonna and Robert Waterman; siblings Roland, Lennox, Rawle, Robert, Desmond, Dwight, Anatol, Clifford, Jr, and Roseclair; and other surviving relatives, including Aunt Stella Barrow.

Jennifer said her dad’s body was cremated on Feb. 17 at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

His ashes will be taken subsequently to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for interment, Jennifer said.

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