Martin Harold Frank ‘Marty’

Oct. 26, 1941 - Dec. 18, 2007

Martin Harold Frank "Marty" of Waukesha passed away peacefully Dec. 18, 2007, at age 66, at AngelsGrace Hospice, surrounded by his loving family.

He was born Oct. 26, 1941, to Harold R. and Geneva L. (nee Anderson) Frank. He was the grandson of the late Martin and Anna (nee Parwolski) Frank of Waukesha, and the late Avery and Mabel (nee Olson) Anderson of Wales.

He is survived by his dearly beloved wife, Suzanne Ricotta Frank; and his cherished children: son and daughter-in-law Chadd and Effie Frank of Waukesha; daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Tom Lang II of Chicago; and son, Brenton "B.J." Frank of Fort Worth, Texas. He is further survived by his grandchildren, Sofia and Anthony Frank of Waukesha. Also surviving are his brother, Gerald P. Frank of Mauston; his father-in-law, Sam J. Ricotta of Corning, N.Y.; his sisters-in-law, Jackie Ricotta (Randy White) of Newtown, Pa., and Lynne Ricotta of Corning, N.Y.; his niece, Anne G. Frank; his nephews, David Ricotta, Drew Lambert, and Samuel and Jacob White; and many other beloved aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by his beloved grandparents, Martin and Anna Frank, and Avery and Mabel Olson Anderson; and his beloved parents, Harold "Hal" and Geneva Anderson Frank; his beloved sister, Susan Frank Johnson; and his mother-in-law, Donatella Ricotta.

Marty attended Barstow School in Waukesha and graduated from Waukesha High School in 1959, where he was the recipient of the John Philip Sousa Award for talented musicianship in band. He was an outstanding trumpet player and was often asked to play "Taps" at military funerals. In intervening years he also attended school in Wauthena, Kan., and St. Joseph, Mo. As a youth, for several years he had a paper route with more than 100 customers he would deliver to on his bicycle. His customers so enjoyed him that even when he was a bank president, they would come up to him and say "You used to deliver my paper!" He went on to be a cum laude graduate of Carroll College in 1963 with a degree in psychology and music. He played trumpet with the Waukesha Symphony while in college, and he was orchestra manager for a time.

Because his father was involved with YMCA work in his career, Marty worked as a summer camp counselor at YMCA Camp Minikani in Hubertus, from high school age through college. He loved working with all the children, and he was especially proud of leading wilderness camping treks to the Boundary Waters area of Minnesota with many groups of campers. He loved the outdoors and nature. When he occasionally became frustrated with the antics of his campers, it was not his nature to be angry, but he came up with his own term for them, calling them a "Nordforkel." He figured that was something the campers could write home about without getting him into trouble!

Marty was a member of the U.S. Army Reserves for six years, leaving with the rank of staff sergeant. During that time, he was awarded the Milwaukee Journal Outstanding Army Reservist of the Year Award. He was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and Fort Knox, Ky. He was there when the James Bond movie, "Goldfinger," was filmed, and he inadvertently caused filming to stop when he unknowingly walked into camera range.

His first and only "real" employer was Waukesha State Bank, where he started in 1959 as a part-time errand boy. He continued being a camp counselor during the summers, but in 1963, he began to work full time at the bank. He would often tell the story that he fully intended to pursue a doctorate in psychology, but needed to save money for additional schooling. He hated the thought of wearing a suit and tie daily, but he took the bank job just for the money. He ended up enjoying it so much, he never took another job.

In 1994, he became the first non-family member to become president and CEO of Waukesha State Bank. He remained in that position for 10 years, in which time the bank grew by more than $250 million and added several branches. He always took a personal interest in all the employees and their families, and he made it a point to personally hand out paychecks to as many workers as he could each pay period. He also took pride in a special program for youth that he initiated at the bank: Rent-A-Kid. The bank became the intermediary between homeowners and young teens for summer jobs. One young man that Marty employed as a Rent-A-Kid doing yard work actually went on to open his own landscaping business. Marty especially liked to "take care of his customers," even taking banking calls at home in the evenings and on weekends. He even went so far as to bail out of jail in the middle of the night a customer who had no one else to call.

Marty was past president of the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) and active on several committees of the WBA and the American Bankers Association (ABA). He also taught WBA courses in Waukesha for area bank employees for many years.

Marty was also an adjunct instructor in the economics department at Carroll College for a number of years, teaching evening classes in money and banking and financial institutions. He was known for his annual field trip to the Chicago Board of Trade. Years later, former students would approach him to tell how he influenced their decision on a career through his classes. His love of teaching extended to young students, as well. For several years, he talked to more than 1,000 elementary school students annually about money and its uses, as well as the role of banks in everyday life.

In 1966, he met the love of his life, Suzanne Ricotta, through a mutual friend at Marquette. They married Aug. 3, 1968, in Rochester, N.Y. He loved recounting the news story appearing in the Waukesha Freeman shortly before the wedding, telling the story of the bank officer (him) who had put his soon-to-be-needed wedding rings into a safety deposit box at the bank, and then lost the key. With little time to spare before the wedding, the bank had to hire a locksmith to drill into and break open the box so the young bank officer could go and get married!

At Carroll College he became involved with College Young Republicans, and that interest involved him in several political campaigns in Wisconsin and nationwide through the years. He was the treasurer of the Wisconsin for Ronald Reagan for President campaign and consequently, after giving a speech on the campaign trail for Ronald Reagan one evening, he found himself featured on the national network evening news program Huntley Brinkley Report.

Marty was involved with virtually every charitable organization in Waukesha through the years. His most recent involvements include chairman of the boards of ProHealth Care, member of the board of Waukesha Memorial Hospital and Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, president of the La Casa de Esperanza Foundation, a founding board member of the Fox River Development Foundation, member of the board of trustees of Carroll College, member of the board of the Ten Chimneys Foundation, member of Legatus International, chair of the capital campaigns for La Casa de Esperanza, which raised over $7 million, board member of MRA-The Management Association, and member of the board of WOW Workforce Development.

Other involvements include past president of the Waukesha Noon Rotary Club and Rotary Paul Harris Fellow; corporate chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure; past president of the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce; the United Way of Waukesha County, where he chaired the board and also headed an annual campaign; past president of Waukesha Rotary International; Waukesha Sister Cities Program; Waukesha Symphony; Waukesha Family YMCA; Merrill Hills Country Club; Women’s Center of Waukesha; Waukesha County Historical Society; the Visiting Nurse Association of Waukesha; Waukesha County March of Dimes; Waukesha County Council of Churches; St. Mary’s Catholic Church Council and School; St. Luke’s Lutheran Church; Catholic Memorial High School; and Waukesha County Airplane Pilots and Owners Association, among many others. He was also on the advisory committees for the Waukesha Sister City organization, the Waukesha Women’s Center, the Waukesha County Historical Society and the Interfaith Caregiving Network.

Marty was given many recognitions through the years, being most proud of the Marty Frank Board Room at La Casa de Esperanza; the Don Richards Leadership Award from the Waukesha Chamber of Commerce; the Distinguished Young Man of the Year from Waukesha Jaycees; the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Carroll College; and the Community Service Award from Catholic Memorial High School, among others. He was also honored with his photo, along with his father’s photo, on a welcome plaque at the Waukesha Family YMCA, dedicating the Welcome Center to the two Franks.

Marty was first and foremost a family man, dedicated to his family, his faith and his community. He took exceptional pride in his children’s accomplishments, whatever they might be, large or small. He relished time together with his children and grandchildren, carrying them around and telling stories that only he could tell, like the Fox and the Chickens. He was a private pilot and a member of Waukesha Flying Club for many years. He was an avid chess player and usually had a game or two going with someone almost every day of his adult life. He also loved spending time at the lake, playing golf, or planting and tending his vegetable garden each year. His favorite pastime would be to sit by the lake (or bay, or ocean) and ponder nature. He loved bird watching and could identify many birds by their call.

Marty was a good friend to many and a strong, caring, compassionate, respectful, fun, spiritual, considerate, loving and forgiving person who was loved by all who knew him, and he will be sorely missed.

A funeral Mass of Christian burial for Marty was held Friday, Dec. 21, 2007, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 225 S. Hartwell Ave., Waukesha, with the Very Rev. James T. Volkert officiating. The visitation was held from noon until the 6 p.m. Mass of Christian burial. Interment will take place at 9:30 a.m. today, Dec. 22, at Prairie Home Cemetery, Waukesha (meet at the cemetery office).

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the La Casa de Esperanza Foundation, 410 Arcadian Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation SW WI, 2825 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, WI 53222; St. Mary’s Church, 225 S. Hartwell Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186; Waukesha Memorial Hospital Foundation, 725 American Ave., Waukesha, WI 53188; the Waukesha Family YMCA, 320 E. Broadway, Waukesha, WI 53186; Ten Chimneys Foundation, P.O. Box 225, Genesee Depot, WI 53127; or Carroll College, 100 N. East Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186.

Special thanks to the nursing staff of the Regional Cancer Center at Waukesha Memorial Hospital and at Angels Grace Hospice.

Cesarz, Charapata and Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation and Pre-planning Services is serving the family. For further information, call 542-6609, or for an online obituary, directions or to leave a condolence, go to www.waukeshasfuneralhome.com.