Deceased September 25, 2012
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