Deceased September 25, 2012

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50th Reunion Book Entry


In Memory

Frank Ryan—known to us as Frank Sekula at Amherst—passed away Sept. 25, 2012, in Riverdale, N.Y. The cause was congestive heart failure. His already weak heart was taxed further by a gall bladder operation in June 2012 and multiple, exhausting stays in New York Presbyterian Hospital throughout that summer. On Oct. 1, 2012, a Catholic funeral mass was held at St. Gabriel’s Church in Riverdale, with Monsignor Robert Stern ’53 delivering a moving eulogy. Flowers sent to honor Frank were purple and white, befitting his love of Amherst. He was buried in Valhalla, N.Y., next to his wife, Alice, who passed away in 2007 from breast cancer.

At Amherst, Frank earned an “A” in track (shot put), played in the band, subbed on bass with the Delta Five and was known for his frequent room “discussions,” many of them all-night bull sessions.

After Amherst, Frank’s life took some dramatic turns—literally to roles in films such as The Manhattan Project and TV commercials—and personally, to a new last name suited to roles that ranged from a CEO to an Irish cop. In his later years, Frank increasingly focused on his autistic and only son, Paul—happy, athletic and now in his late 20s but always in a special school and never able to speak.       

Family and friends were always ready to step up for Frank, especially when Alice passed away and son Paul needed care. Well after Amherst, Frank “found” a new best friend in New York City in Gomer Rees ’53. The two of them brightened many of our reunion dinners with humorous, wise epigrams and clever strung-together sentences. Now 85, Gomer was always there for Frank and the last to see him before he died. Gomer now lives in Yonkers, N.Y., with his delightful cousin Rosalind Rees Smith and her husband, Gregg Smith, both well-known musicians. All three miss Frank very much.

Philip W. Ransom Jr. ’53

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50th Reunion

Jim places before us a task which reminds me a bit of Amherst freshman year. I propose to try and satisfy the requirements of said task herewith.

Francis P Ryan.png As to "the end of history," it displays an idyllic and unrealistic view of life as well as a complete disregard of the lessons of history. Human nature, unfortunately, is never satisfied nor pleased with a healthy worry-free condition. Instead it thrives upon turmoil, trepidation and tension. So much for worldly musings. On a personal note, I still plug along with my acting and also dabble in business. I play bass occasionally. A few years ago I had a complete hip replacement which made walking a pleasure again. I also had six bouts with kidney stones which entailed a new procedure called lithotripsy.

It is with regret that I must report that my son, Paul, will not be able to follow in my footsteps and attend Amherst since he is autistic. However he is a healthy, happy athletic youngster six feet tall and 195 pounds - in better shape than his Dad at that age. He goes to a special school and also does vocational work in the culinary department there. I believe some of my classmates have an intimate knowledge of this kind of situation.

My wife, Alice, is still active at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, with plans to retire in a few years. I, on the other hand, will not retire but will continue on with my endeavors - keeping the little grey cells occupied. My bulldog, Otto, will continue to assist to me. Alice and I have purchased our apartment in Riverdale. It is large, with a terrace and a pleasant view of trees, greens etc.

Francis Ryan 53.PNG Perhaps because I am inherently old-school, I have little interest in computers, email, cell phones etc., preferring the more old-fashioned means of communication. however, I recognize the fact that eventually I  will have to give in a bit to modernization. For example, Paul uses a computer.