Freeman Thurston Frank
.Frank,%20Freeman.jpg (56073 bytes)
Born: September 07, 1931
Died: October 03, 2007
Services:  Funeral Service at the First Congregational Church, 184 Pleasant St., Malden, Saturday, October 6 at 11 AM. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., MELROSE, Friday 5-8 PM.
Mr. Freeman T. Frank of Malden, formerly of Melrose, died Wednesday morning, October 3, 2007 at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington. He was 76 years old.

Mr. Frank was born in East Vassalboro, Maine, September 7, 1931, son of the late Leroy W. Frank and Geneva (Thurston) Frank.

Freeman Thurston Frank, the fourth of eight children, was born in 1931 in a one-room country school and raised in the towns of Minot and Poland, in the State of Maine. He worked his way though high school (Auburn’s Edward Little) and Boston University, did a two-year stretch in the US Army during the Korean War and for 37 years (five of them in Medfield, Templeton, and Kingston and 32 in Melrose) taught history and coached debating in Massachusetts secondary schools. He received his Masters degree from Bridgewater State College and was the Head of the History Department at Melrose High School.

Among many summertime jobs, he was a farm-hand, janitor, woodchopper, dishwasher, waiter, truck driver (bakery, milk, beverage, ice), wallpaperer, house painter, rough carpenter, and briefly (in 1953) a reporter for the Lewiston Evening Journal. Retired since 1992, he and Sally (Wallace), his wife of 50 years, lived in Melrose for 42 years and Malden since 2004 near their two sons, Calvin and Adam and their dear grandchildren: Jeneva, Cameron and Rayna.

In his last years, he wrote essays and short stories, published in the Melrose Mirror and the Wolf Moon Press, each concerning 1950’s life in small town Maine and Greater Boston—all true, with some names and places changed for the usual reasons.

He has been President of both the Massachusetts and the New England Speech Drama Debate Associations. A ranked player in the American Checker Federation, he was its District 1, New England Director since 1998. And he much enjoyed his nearly 20 year membership in the Melrose Great Books Club. He took much pride in being descended from a long line of liberals, including great-grandfathers, ''boys in blue,'' during the Civil War. While active in Melrose Democratic Party Politics, he considered himself one the last Abolitionists, whose cause ''we have just barely begun to win.''

Freeman was the beloved husband of Sally (Wallace) Frank. Devoted father of Calvin W. Frank of Malden and Adam W. Frank of Medford. Loving grandfather of Jeneva Frank, Cameron Frank and Rayna Frank all of Melrose. Dear brother of Joanne Baumgartel, Sally Belisle both of Lewiston, ME and Royal Frank of Hacketts Mills, ME, the late Hal Frank, Philip Frank, Timothy Frank and Gertrude Frank.
Memorials: Gifts in Freeman’s memory may be made to the Stem Cell Political Action Committee, 1101 17th Street, NW, # 1350, Washington, DC 20036.
Cemetery: To be determined (Map)

Freeman Frank was the ACF New England District I Manager for many years, who usually held the tournament at his home in late June.  Freeman always directed a fine tourney.  He held a 1447 ACF Rating in 2006.


Posted at: 10/8/2007 7:54:40 PM
By: Kathleen Kimball Nahigian
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My condolences to the Frank family and all of Mr. Frank's students who so loved and respected him. A kinder and more beloved teacher cannot be found. He challenged us not only to use our minds, but opened a world of possibilities and aspirations previously unthought-of. A unique and most beloved mentor to many who will be sorely missed. God Bless You Freeman Frank. Heaven is certainly a better place now.
If anyone knows of a compilation of his writings, I too would be interested in reading and owning a copy.
Sincerest sympathy to the Freeman family
Kathy Kimball Nahigian

Posted at: 10/8/2007 3:57:23 PM
By: Robert Lewis
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My experiences at MHS with Mr. Frank certainly were memorable. His energy and desire to teach young students can not be replaced. I am proud to have known Freeman, be it only 4 years at MHS. I, any many others will not forget Freeman Frank and and hard work he contributed for the students of MHS.
Thank you Mr. Frank.

Class of 75

Posted at: 10/8/2007 1:45:44 PM
By: Bob Gordon
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I've forgotten many of the teachers I had at MHS almost 50 years ago, but Mr. Frank was certainly not one of them. He was a one-of-a-kind original who made you think about possibilities.

He made a difference in my life, and I am sure I was just one of hundreds if not thousands for whom he was a positive influence.

I am sad for his wife and family - my heart goes out to them.

Bob Gordon, Class of 64
Oakland, California

Posted at: 10/8/2007 12:30:00 AM
By: Steve Murphy
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I had Mr Frank in the 1990-1991 academic year. I had A block history with him. Every morning almost without fail MR Frank would say the following phrase let us go, you and I, where the morning is spread out against the sky... then he would begin teaching. Always remembered that MR Frank!! god bless

Posted at: 10/7/2007 11:40:32 PM
By: Janice Mirabassi
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Thank you, Freeman, for helping us to understand why the jury system in the United States SHOULD be significantly changed...and for helping so many students learn to speak publicly with clarity and poise. From one of your many Second Affirmatives -


Posted at: 10/7/2007 9:28:45 PM
By: JR Smith
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I talked to Freeman many times on the phone about the New England District 1 Tournament. He was a gentleman and always helpful with information. We will miss him, his friends, his students, and checker players. I realize he touched many lives and positively influenced many a student from reading the guestbook. We all should strive to be better and be remembered as he is. God Bless you Freeman Frank, and my deepest sympathy to all who knew you and your family. He left so many with only fond memories.
JR Smith - NCCA secretary

Posted at: 10/7/2007 6:08:54 PM
By: Kenneth M. Diesenhof
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Freeman Frank was one of those special people who fight for justice for all just because it was the right thing to do. He will be missed.

Posted at: 10/6/2007 7:13:32 PM
By: Dave Jones
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I was very sorry to hear of the passing or Mr. Frank. I too had him as a teacher and it was through his style of teaching and storytelling that I have been pursuing my degree to teach High School History. He helped me to love the past and gave me the desire to share this with others. If I can be half the teacher that he was, I will have accomplished a great thing!

Dave Jones MHS Class of 81

Posted at: 10/6/2007 1:49:47 PM
By: Kathy Russo Simon
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I was so sorry to hear about your Dad. You look so much like the picture of him! May the wonderful memories of his great life help ease your pain.
Thinking of you,

Posted at: 10/6/2007 1:37:52 PM
By: Clayton Scoble
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To the Frank family- my sympathy, thoughts, and love.


Posted at: 10/6/2007 12:54:14 PM
By: Christopher Kim
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Funny how your memories persist with snipits of happenings in your life. I clicked open my email and saw 'Freeman T Frank' in the subject line. My mind was already processing....'could this be the same person who was my teacher way back in high school..?'
We all wrote a history report and Mr. Frank singled out my opening line of my report: He astonished the world. (It was about some Roman Caesar.) Mr. Frank used my opening sentence as a paragon of good writing style. How flattering because I was just an unconscious freshman student.
I recall one of his favorite teaching positions was to sit on one of the front row student desks with one leg curled up, his other foot barely reaching the floor to keep him upright. When he wanted to make a point or muse about a topic, he'd look up at the ceiling.
Funny how my memories can look back over 4 decades and remember Mr. Frank.

He astonished the world in his own way. Best wishes to Mr. Frank and family.

Posted at: 10/6/2007 10:05:16 AM
By: JoAnn (Harding) Somerville
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Without question, Mr. Frank was one of the two most memorable teachers I had the pleasure of learning from. I loved his sense of humor and his grin. A loss to the educational system for sure.

Posted at: 10/6/2007 5:51:36 AM
By: Tim Averill
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I just wanted to add that on the day of Freeman's funeral, Waring School in Beverly will be hosting the Freeman Frank Memorial Debate Tournament in Beverly MA. May his family feel the love that Freeman gave to so many of his students, colleagues, friends, and family.

Posted at: 10/5/2007 9:44:22 PM
By: Dave Boyd
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Mr. Frank was my civics teacher in high school. What I learned from him, quite aside from his passion for Daniel Webster, served me well. When I took his class I was not even a U.S. citizen, but his lessons taught me what I would need years later to pass the citizenship test. I even learned the art of debate from him, though I was not a member of his debate club, his lessons in presenting rational and reasoned arguments stay with me to this day. Mr. Frank was a great influence on our class of 1967. Ever since, each time I saw the name or picture of Daniel Webster, I remembered Mr. Frank.

Posted at: 10/5/2007 6:32:47 PM
By: Ted Kim
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Some people we never forget, i.e., those that have impacted our lives in a significant way. I haven't heard or seen the name Freeman T. Frank since I graduated from Melrose High in '65. But, I immediately remembered the name when an email arrived with his name in the subject line. He was a wonderful, memorable teacher who always held my attention in High School. May our Lord bless him eternally.

Posted at: 10/5/2007 5:58:42 PM
By: Joel Palmer
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Freeman Frank was one in a great line of history teachers and department heads at MHS including A Imrie Dixon and Richard Hildeth Sr. He was able to translate his love of learning to his students and was mentor and advisor to hundreds over the years. Melrose was lucky indeed to have Mr. Frank and his students fortunate to have him as a teacher. Well Done! Rest in Peace

Posted at: 10/5/2007 4:25:36 PM
By: ray savage
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Posted at: 10/5/2007 3:45:31 PM
By: Joanne Carley (DeBenedictis)
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I am so sorry to hear of Mr Frank's passing. He was a teacher and mentor. There is always one teacher that sticks in your mind and heart and Mr Frank was that teacher for me. (Class of '67). He will be missed by one and all.

Posted at: 10/5/2007 2:58:37 PM
By: Paul & Liz Brodeur
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Dear Sally & Family -

We were greatly saddened to learn of Freeman's passing. We have always had the greatest respect for Freeman's principled commitment to liberal Democratic ideals and his unmatched ability to tell a story. He will be missed.

Posted at: 10/5/2007 2:51:40 PM
By: Heather
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Ad and Cal,
Heartfelt sympathy to you and your entire family.

Posted at: 10/5/2007 1:05:40 PM
By: Robin Dolan Montesano
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My sympathies to Sally and family. I have fond memories of Freeman from past years at the Melrose Democratic Comm. meetings.


Posted at: 10/5/2007 11:53:03 AM
By: Rock
Email Address:
Ad -
Our condolences to you and your family.


Posted at: 10/5/2007 9:20:29 AM
By: Kenneth & Louise Chicoine
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Our deepest sympathies are with you and yours........

Ken & Lou

Posted at: 10/5/2007 5:50:46 AM
By: Ben Pease
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Mr. Frank was a man whose words and actions always came from his heart. This fact made him a memorable teacher, moderator, husband and advocate for social justice. May the Lord bless and keep you Mr. Frank!

Posted at: 10/4/2007 10:55:14 PM
By: Gail Russell Chaddock
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Getting to ride next to Freeman Frank in the van on the way home from a debate tournament was about as good as life got. You could count on stories, songs, and, if you were lucky, the Cross of Gold speech...all of it. He taught us to love words and great, soaring aspirations. I still sing his songs when I'm driving late at night and wonder when I'll ever get home. (How many vans did Freeman drive into the ground so that his students could grow?) It's a cliche to say that great teachers live on in their students, as well as their family, but he certainly does. If it's ever possible to collect his writings, I'd love to see them. Thanks to his family for giving us a chance to share thoughts about him -- and for giving him up all those weekends.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 8:28:13 PM
By: Catherine F White
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Dear Sally, Ad, and Calvin-
Freeman will be sorely missed by all members of the checkers community, and their family. He was inspirational to so many players, including my husband, Richard. Whenever I meet someone who grew up in Melrose I ask whether they knew him. They happily and excitedly tell me about their favorite teacher.
I will always remember him.
-Catherine Friend White

Posted at: 10/4/2007 8:01:50 PM
By: Declan & Stephanie Buckley
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Ad, Cal and family
We are saddened to hear of your fathers passing. Just from reading this short obituary you can tell he was a special person. You are in our thoughts
love dec & steph

Posted at: 10/4/2007 6:22:57 PM
By: Ira Burnim
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So sorry to learn of Freeman's death. He helped so many kids and touched so many lives. I think of him often, and especially of the friendship and support he so generously bestowed on me and others in Sally's and his extended family of Melrose High debaters. So much of who I am today is Freeman's doing. He nurtured us intellectually, imparted important life lessons, and worked hard to give us opportunity. I am so grateful to him, as are the many others whom he helped launch into adulthood. We admire and love him, and we will sorely miss him.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 3:14:19 PM
By: Jackie Emanuel & Geri Wensing
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We are so sorry to hear of Mr. Frank's passing. He was our homeroom teacher in the 70's at Melrose High School. We'll always remember homeroom in the Pit. Our thoughts and prayers to his family.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 2:55:01 PM
By: Brenda Frank Charrier
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Love and condolences to Aunt Sally, Cal and Adam, Jeneva, Cameron, and Rayna, Aunt Jo, Aunt Sally Belisle, and Uncle Royal…
Dear Uncle Freeman,
The last time I saw you, at the family reunion at your house a couple of years ago, you were in great form. I am so sorry that the terrible weather this past St. Patrick’s Day prevented you from making it to Tom’s homecoming celebration—it would have been great to see you there. You would have enjoyed it. Memories flood my mind…Bits and pieces of hours spent with you, my father, and the myriad of vibrant uncles, aunts, cousins, and others (most from Maine, all of them colorful)…I remember Grampa’s story about delivering you feet-first (which he was qualified to do because he had once delivered a breech calf)… I see you hunched over a small table with Grampa Thurston, a checkerboard between you. (This is my only memory of Great-Grampa Thurston)… I hear you belting out “Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home” and “McNamara’s Band” at Grampa’s after an afternoon of merriment (and one or two beers) with your brothers … I remember the long drive from Dorchester with my parents to visit you and beautiful Aunt Sally in Kingston (“the Country” because there were no sidewalks) before you moved to Melrose… I liked your anecdotes about various historical figures and events, and disliked the affected drone of William F. Buckley (on Channel 2 Sunday afternoons.) I was mystified that someone sooo boring could entertain you and my father…

Posted at: 10/4/2007 2:54:05 PM
By: Brenda Frank Charrier
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I remember riding to Maine in a black car that used to be yours, but it broke down on the Turnpike, and sat forever more behind Grampa and Grammy’s house (filled with animal feed, I think)… I remember the spirited kids (members of the Melrose High Varsity Debate Club) you drove all over New England to debate tournaments. When I was 14 or so, I immensely enjoyed joining you on some of those trips, and I loved staying with you and Aunt Sally… After Uncle Timmy’s funeral, on the ride back to Grampa’s house, you softly sang, “Where have you gone, my little one, little one, where have you gone…?” We were crying… Finally, there’s the story you told Sara and me (I was seven, Sara, five) about two sisters--one of them very good (me), and the other very naughty (Sara). One day in the forest, they stumbled upon a giant castle made entirely of delicious frosted cake and every sort of mouth-watering candy, and mounds of yummy whipped cream. They were ordered not to touch any of it. The good sister didn’t eat as much as a crumb, even though she was very hungry. The naughty sister filled her pockets and stuffed her face with all the candy, cake and frosting she could grab. Eventually the Witch who owned the castle showed up, very irate--and a terrible thing happened ...She gobbled up the good sister, and let the naughty one eat all the candy she wanted, forever and ever. Very funny, dear Uncle. This one aside, I love your stories, Uncle Freeman—those you’ve written and those you’ve lived. Thank you for all of them. That’s it, I guess. I am so sad that I will not see you again. I will miss you!
Love always—Brenda
(Your first niece and the first-born daughter of your oldest brother Hal)

Posted at: 10/4/2007 12:19:50 PM
By: Tim Averill
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Freeman Frank was a legendary and supportive debate coach. When I started teaching in Massachusetts in 1971, Freeman was my mentor, the guru of debate in New England. He nurtured my program and that of many other young coaches. I will never forget the joy of attending tournaments that Freeman ran at Melrose HS. He made sure all the trophies were engraved First Place because he appreciated the efforts of all the debaters. Freeman took joy in the activity of speech and debate and was always a gentleman and an honest advocate. My life has been much richer because of his guidance and influence.
Thanks to Freeman, I am still coaching debate at Manchester and at Waring School in beverly.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 11:40:59 AM
By: Jonathan Pape
Email Address:
I would like to offer my condolences to the entire Frank family; you are in my thoughts and in my prayers.


Posted at: 10/4/2007 10:17:44 AM
By: Robin Frank Myers
Email Address:
Our thoughts are with you. Uncle Freeman will be truly missed.
Robin, Matt, Jan, Steve and Linda

Posted at: 10/4/2007 9:39:02 AM
By: Charles R. McNamara
Email Address:
I am saddened to hear of the passing of one of my favorite teachers at Melrose High. Mr. Frank's talents and wisdom as a teacher, a coach, and an advisor had a very positive and influential impact on my life.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 8:51:15 AM
By: Richard White
Email Address:
I was very saddened to hear of Freeman's death. Deepest sympathy to Sally, Ad, Calvin and the rest of the family.
I'll miss him terribly.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 8:18:58 AM
By: Paula Taylor
Email Address:
Not a year goes by that i do not think of Mr. Frank. Especially when the subject of History comes up, whether it was helping my children or grandchildren. Why? well I was more of a math and science student and I really detested History after failing a few test he came to me and said he knew I was a great student in the other subjects and history was keeping me from high honors. He studied with me until I could get at least a C, then a B I could not remember one date from another. He was so passionate about the subject I could not let him down. At the time I kept thinking who cares this stuff all ready happened now it is about the future. Well as the years go by I have grown to like the subject and smile every time I think of him.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 7:18:11 AM
By: E. Wesley Miller
Email Address:
I am so glad we got in touch over the past few years. Freeman meant a lot to me in high school days. He will be greatly missed.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 2:21:13 AM
By: Thomas W Frank
Email Address:
It was with a heavy heart that I learned today of the death of my Uncle Freeman – my father’s younger brother. I have many fond memories of his wonderful stories as well as his contagious passion for poetry and history. I send my heartfelt condolences to my cousins Calvin and Adam and to my dear Aunt Sally. I wish I could be with you all in body - but will be so in thought.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 2:14:00 AM
By: Thomas W Frank
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It was with a heavy heart that I learned today of the death of my Uncle Freeman – my father’s younger brother. I have many fond recollections of my Uncle and the wonderful hilltop home in Melrose to which he is forever linked in my memory. I picture him in his study… walls festooned with colorful politically incorrect propaganda posters of the Second World War, organized chaos on his desk… and books. Lots of books. I remember many weekend visits there… sitting as an observer at the long dining room table… while the beer flowed with the conversation – in eddies, torrents and waves, welling-up, ebbing and retreating…. The topics of discussion were, I am sure, not the fare of many other Melrose tables. It was more akin to a meeting of 19th century Boston’s “Saturday Club” than a typical reunion of brothers in a 20th century suburb. Neither the Red Sox nor the Patriots….ever came up that I can recall. Of what moment after all was a ball game… when there were the merits and failings of long dead presidents to discuss, poetry to recite and issues of history to debate. There was passion at that table. Passion, Poetry, Politics…. and great rivers of beer. A festival of erudition and wit. I regret now that I did not have more time with him. I always planned to visit. A more modern bard said that “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans…” and unfortunately…. Death happens too. But I knew my dear Uncle long enough, and well enough to have loved him. And I already miss him.
I send my love and condolences to my cousins Calvin and Adam… and to my dear Aunt Sally. I wish I could be with you on Saturday – but I will be there in spirit and in thought.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 1:10:06 AM
By: Dennis MacDonald
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Whenever I popped by Uncle Freeman's house on an unannounced visit, I knew I'd have to set aside a few hours as a short visit would not suffice. While reading his short stories about life in Hacketts Mills, Maine, was captivating, listening to him tell the stories was vastly more entertaining. He was a natural raconteur and loved an audience, even if it was just one nephew.

Posted at: 10/4/2007 12:00:50 AM
By: Jen Kettering Norton
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My deepest sympathies to the Frank family. You'll be in my thoughts.

Posted at: 10/3/2007 9:35:47 PM
By: Kathy Graham
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My condolences to the FRank family i myself was a student of freeman frank.. he will be missed by all who knew him.. take care and god blesss

Posted at: 10/3/2007 9:08:12 PM
By: john pressey & family
Email Address:
Royal Frank called Me today to let know
of Freeman's passing. He will be sorely
missed. I am so pleased to have been able to attend the family reunion at
Freeman & Sally's house.

Posted at: 10/3/2007 7:47:14 PM
By: Paula Kelley
Email Address:
I am so sorry to hear of Freeman's passing. My thoughts are with Ad, Cal, Sally, and the rest of the family.

With sympathy,


Posted at: 10/3/2007 6:53:06 PM
By: Donna Lee
Email Address:
Sally, Calvin, Adam and all the rest of the family know that Jeff and I are thinking of you at this time. I told Royal that I know that Freeman, my mother and Aunt Geneva are all together and no one can get a word in edgewise. Love

Posted at: 10/3/2007 5:29:14 PM
By: Dan Pallotta
Email Address:
This is the saddest news I've had in many years. My condolences to all of you. I just learned of Freeman's passing moments ago. I will write at greater length later...a better friend and teacher no one ever had.

Danny Pallotta

Posted at: 10/3/2007 5:01:45 PM
By: Sally Belisle
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Posted at: 10/3/2007 4:58:53 PM
By: Bill Eldringhoff
Email Address:
Mr. Frank was a remarkable history teacher and a great storyteller as well. It was an honor to be one of his students.


10/6/07 Boston Global News Article - Freeman T. Frank taught high school history; at 76

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