ForeverMissed
Stories

The kindest soul...

Shared by Sam Sonntag on August 5, 2020
I knew Frank well. He was part of our family as my sister, Janet's lifelong partner. We spent many Thanksgivings and Christmases together, and lots of visits in-between. Always late, never hurried. Always brilliant, never silent. Always funny, never letting an adventure slip by.  And whether he was late, in endless conversation, or acting dangerously goofy (like the time he tried acrobatics while riding a bike in Arcata), he was ALWAYS kind. He was the kindest person I have ever met, whether to us, to our daughter (who loved his bike acrobatics!), to my mother (he cried more than the rest of us when we scattered her ashes), or to the love of his life, my sister (even if he didn't always get her Christmas present right). But most of all, it was in the special relationship he had with animals that his kind heart glowed most brilliantly. From his own Piglet (who wasn't, we all must admit, the cutest of dogs), to Janet's Mr. Boo, to my mother's and then our toy poodle, Coco, Frank communed with them as their soul mates. He showed us all how to be selfless and loving and caring, and we will miss him greatly..   

Long, Good Years Connecting

Shared by Lois Vermilya on August 1, 2020
I write this to celebrate David and Frank’s lifetime of mutual adventures and love shared through enduring friendship. I also hold close to heart my own good memories with Frank over these same 50-some years.

Frank and David had a bond that simply appreciated being with each other. Over the past stretch of time when Frank was back in CNY, they thrived as 2 goofy guys enjoying softball, nature, musical events, conversation, and so many adventures with Town Shop teens. Frank always would volunteer to help with field trips and come along with David, enjoying conversation with young people. I also loved watching how Frank would enchant our parents with stories from his global travels. He always was present and attuned to others, fostering inquiry about ideas which was just so much fun and mutually engaging. I would look him up when I was in the Bay Area for work, enjoying many a great meal and stimulating conversation, always.  

Lenny and I still remember fondly meeting Frank and Janet at Canyon de Chelley for a camping trip when our kids were young. Frank had picked a high spot slightly off the grid of the designated places in the park.... which was beautiful until torrential rains in the night turned our campsite into an island with rushing water on all sides as the arroyos ran ferociously. When morning arrived, we were stranded and it was dangerous. The park rangers came to rescue Owen and Alana with pontoon-3 wheelers because it was just too unsafe to cross to the parking area with a 5 and 2 year old. We spent the rest of the day at a motel drying out our gear, laughing and still enjoying the beautiful park. This story of course now lives on in our family lore, — and touches back out to you Janet as you now let your beloved Frank go. I think you may have visited our house here in N.M. once too. We send our love to you as you grieve and are buoyed by so many who knew and loved Frank, including us.

Frank was a kind, generous, inquisitive, dedicated global activist who leaves a mark in so many good deeds done. I feel blessed that David, Lenny and I shared time with you - dear friend!

Flavius Maximus Private Roman Eye

Shared by Deborah Doolittle on July 30, 2020
Finally found who was who in the Show Boat skit that Frank and Tom Stone wrote and produced for the annual show boat.
Frank -- hero on left with wreath on head
Duncan Hamilton - villain Brutus on left
Larry Shipps in paper column
body lying on floor -- Tom Stone
man behind column - Bruce Coleman
back row - Art Johnson, Rich Coppola, Greg Wells, Gary Revercomb, Dave Johnston, Mike Stackfleth, Greg Reynolds, Steve Davis
Debby Larus  -  not pictured - girl holding grapes

Shared by Lucinda Meachem Sutton on July 29, 2020
Frank & I had a special friendship. He was my date to Junior Prom, my fellow thespian, & the main reason I took calculus ( if Frank could do it, so could I....who was I kidding?) We shared most classes, but he was a Cossack & I wasn’t. We shared “group dates” to Carrolls’s Hamburgs. He was one of my few friends To have a car & he was very protective of it. During College summer vacations we had fun going to the Dewitt Drive-in in his hearse. 
I looked forward to his letters to the Eagle Bulletin about his time in the Middle East with the WHO. 
i never knew when he would show up. He used to come to my house & play piano for me for hours, but I secretly thought he was there to visit with my parents!  He showed up at my door very late at night just weeks after I was married & stayed for the night. He stayed with us when he came to Florida to see his beloved Dodgers in their final spring training. We spent endless hours over the years talking about really interesting things. He was my friend & I miss him. I know all of you do, too he was a good man.

Gonna miss you mightily

Shared by Viki Sonntag on July 29, 2020
Frank, my sister's companion through life's adventures, was always a joy to be around, wacky and goofy and good looking to boot.  When we are out walking on the streets, he would offer you his arm and then jig down the street.  (He loved to dance.)  Or he would be sure to point out (literally) when you were consuming copious amounts of pie.  Make up nonsense ditties.   And build beautiful, elaborate sculptures on the beach, topping them off meticulously with a delicately balanced rock.  He had the most dramatic PhD story I've ever heard, racing to submit his 1000 page manuscript he had labored over for years at the last possible moment.  His quiet good will to everyone around amazed me. Thanks for being part of our family's history, Frank.  I'll miss you.  

A beautiful life.

Shared by Bruce Barnes on July 28, 2020
Well lived.

So Funny!

Shared by Arianna Siegel on July 28, 2020
I didn't know Frank well, but I did get to spend some time with him (as a friend of Janet's) before the illness took over and one thing I and my husband Bill fondly remember (and miss) is his great imitations of Amos and Andy. He was really good! Bill and I would urge him to do it whenever we got together and he would usually oblige and get us laughing. It never got old....He had a great sense of humor!

A recent friend to Frank

Shared by Nina Council on July 27, 2020
I met Frant only a few years ago having been introduced to me by his lady Janet.   Upon first meeting he laughed when i commented on his hair appearing as an Andy Warhol haircut.  I only shared a little social time with Frank and Janet, however I felt him to be a man of ethics, good values, and very intelligent.    He was a kind, good soul with a loving heart and he will be missed by many.      Nina

Piano Playing

Shared by Deborah Doolittle on July 26, 2020
Had almost forgotten that Frank was a terrific piano player. His go to song was Bumble Boogie. Also remember being at his house on Churchill Lane with friend Bruce Coleman and my then husband Skip Doolittle, listening to music, playing dictionary and just having a good time. This was in the early eighties well after college.

Remembering Walking Together

Shared by Janet Sonntag on July 24, 2020
Janet’s memories of Frank

Frank, aka Harmattan (an Egyptian wind meaning Doctor, so with his Ph.D., he became Dr. Dr.) was the love of my life. My favorite memory of many happy times together is of a night walk through Cairo, where he was working and I was visiting. We took off about 9 p.m. one night, and walked hours along the streets that border the Nile, crossing wooden bridges, Frank chatting in Arabic with the midnight picnickers who came out with their children after dark to enjoy the cool air, ending up in his old neighborhood to visit a friend from his Ph.D. research days. Was that the night he wore a white turban around his head? Frank knew Cairo and Egypt so well that he was like a spirit guide who knew all the secret places. He also, being the wild and woolly guy he sometimes was, got around by scooter, which was a source of great amusement to the sedate men in robes enjoying their hubba bubba water pipes. We used other modes of transportation in the Egypt years: riding horses to the pyramids, a felucca up the Nile.

But many of our best times were walks. Walking in the hills above Berkeley or on the pier in Emeryville as we got to know each other when we were first dating (OMG, was it 30 years ago) and hearing stories about his Lotus days in college, and his kibbutz days after that. Walking in the redwood forests and marshlands in Northern California when we were visiting my extended family.Day-long walks in the white villages in Andalucía (with a feast waiting for us at the top of a small mountain, how do they do that?) Walks on the gorgeous trails in Oregon where we have lived since 2015.

And especially, a week long village to village walk on the Amalfi coast in Italy, where someone kindly picked up our luggage in the morning and had it waiting at our next hotel. That was in 2012. Frank planned it, a self-directed tour with detailed written instructions, such as “face the cathedral, look over your left shoulder and you’ll see a path that leads to a bridge over a cemetery. “ Except there was no cemetery, and sometimes we had to connect paths by competing with tour buses on the cliff-hanger highway.We had a blast.

Other memories of the Frank I knew. He matched action to words: he was an environmentalist, part of the Friday night bicycle brigade that blocked downtown streets in San Francisco; he got on a bus to go out to Ohio to register voters; he knocked on doors for animal welfare; he was always ready to help the little 95 year old lady who lived across the street. He also played Chopin; made fabulous ratatouille; and hung out his laundry on a line across the back yard. And never once in all the time I knew him, did he ever utter a harsh word to me, and always knew how to make me laugh.

He had a lot of good luck in his life, and then as most of you know, the very bad luck of Alzheimer’s. Even then, he never lost his humor, and if he couldn’t think of the words, would raise an eyebrow and do a sideways smile. A lovely hospice nurse, who was with us near the end, said what helps is to think of the gifts your loved one leaves behind. For me Frank’s gifts were many. Commitment to take action to make the world just a little bit better. Kindness and laughter. And to just keep walking . I know our paths will cross again, maybe at the 4th cataract on the Nile.



From friend Conrad Collins

Shared by Janet Sonntag on July 21, 2020
  • Carroll’s Towing Service
    It was a late summer’s eve in 1966, only days before many of us were to leave home for our first year of college. I was parked in a cow pasture, on a hill above Churchill Lane in Fayetteville. Jane Gaitley (now my wife of 44 yrs.) and I had enjoyed the full moon, the fragrance of ripening alfalfa, some guitar music,and some conversation. My “ride” was a ’55 Cadillac hearse- “the beast.” After saving from a summer of construction jobs, this $300 purchase had finally “put me in the driver’s seat.”
    A small oversight of this first auto purchase was about to emerge, however; I had failed to notice the condition of the tires. As I put the beast in gear, ready to exit the meadow, the bald rubber tires responded as if we were on ice- much whining, but no forward motion. Did I mention it was late? Dew had fallen, and the grass was slick. Although we were on a hill, we were parked on a flat spot. No amount of pushing (it was a very heavy vehicle) would budge the beast.
    The home of Frank Carroll, a best friend, was just down the hill, at 411 Churchill Lane. He was an admirer of the hearse; In fact, he had been so impressed, he had (surprise!) recently gone out and gotten one of his own! Perhaps Frank’s hearse could help?
    Jane and I cut through the weeds and seeds, and slippery grass, and made tracks for Fran’s place. His room was on the second story, facing the street. When whispered shouts proved ineffective, we tossed some pebbles at the glass windows. The lights eventually went on, but surprise! It was Adele Carroll-Frank’s mother- who stuck her head out! Shouts of alarm! Wrong room! Next room over lights go on, and Frank stuck his head out. Total confusion, embarrassment, and then much laughter erupted. On the front porch the Carroll Clan gathered to engineer a solution. A plan was quickly formulated.
    We first promised we would return to Adele and Frank, Sr’s., post vehicle retrieval. We then returned to the hill. Frank’s hearse fortunately had tires with tread. By the light of the late August moon, and using a heavy rope as a tow line, we pulled the beast to a nearby gravel road.
    Two Cadillac hearses in a cow pasture at midnight- Carroll’s towing service. I wish I could share the picture of that moment that remains in my brain. Frank’s parents so enjoyed the drama. They later served us up some food and drink, and some more laughs, before we departed, and they turned in.
    Frank and I shared many strange and wonderful moments over the years, which were recounted and re-enjoyed whenever we reconnected. The memory of the night that “Carroll’s towing service” saved the beast, will always remain a jewel in the crown of our lifetime friendship. 

From friend Dr. Bob Mithun

Shared by Janet Sonntag on July 21, 2020
There are many stories about Frank. These aren't spectacular or great, but I'll share two. 
Lost in the bush
You know he was an avid hiker, backpacker, and camper, and a skilled outdoorsman, although he wasn't always exactly on schedule. One day, several years ago, Kimi and I agreed to go on a backpacking trip to Eagle Lake with Frank and a few other friends. 
We were going to all meet at the trailhead at noon and hike in together. This was a several hour hike. Frank was late. We waited. We waited some more. Then we left without him, leaving a note. We arrived at the lake just before dinner time and sunset, with no sign of Frank. 
The next morning, we found Frank camped in the middle of Manzanita bushes 30 feet from the beach. He was so late, he didn't arrive at the trailhead until after sunset, and, with no moonlight, it was very dark. He couldn't see the trail, so he used his compass and hiked several miles through dense, waist high Manzanita brush toward the lake. His bearings were quite accurate and he never knew that he was only 20' or less from the trail the entire way. This took several hours during the night. When he finally awoke the next morning, he saw his path, but was in a great mood and we had a wonderful trip.
Planning is Optional

Frank visited me  in Denver, where I was in medical school, in the winter of about 1971 so we could ski together in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. We each got some wooden, bear-trap cross country skis and took off. Neither of us had any experience on cross country skis, much less doing down hill turns in the mountains.

Frank was always up for a spontaneous adventure. Planning and preparation were optional. We parked at the base of a high mountain slope en route to Aspen, waxed our skis, and climbed up to the top of the ridge. Knowing we probably had no ability to turn, we took off our skis, setting them on the snow on the ridge, and sighted down them, positioning them so they aimed exactly the right way through the rocks and then through the narrow gaps between the Aspen trees if we made no slight turns at all. We clipped in and took off.

The trip didn't go as planned. Turns happened. By the time we finally got to the bottom we had had quite a hilarious adventure, weren't badly injured, and learned a little about how to turn and maybe to plan.



From friend Bill Cohan

Shared by Janet Sonntag on July 21, 2020

I met Francis Patrick Carroll at Seilerstatte 30 (I don’t have an umlaut to place above the “a” for correct spelling auf Deutsch...) in October, 1968, when we were students at Stanford in Austria, Group VII. We quickly became friends. 

Frank and I became roommates again when we returned to Palo Alto and rented a house in College Terrace, where we inherited 2 cats, a male whom we named “The Mu Meson Voluptuizer” and a female named “Little Kitty.” Mu Meson acquired his name from his loud behavior and I spent too much time listening to the Mothers of Invention album “Uncle Meat,” which included the name for our big male cat. 

Frank had driven his 1954 Cadillac hearse from Troy, New York to Palo Alto; we used it numerous times to travel to the coast near Santa Cruz for group acid trips. The hearse was Frank’s version of Frank Zappa’s “1937 refrigerator white Chevy taco wagon helicopter” featured in “Uncle Meat.” We laughed a great deal, usually at our own stupid inside jokes, which we believed were fiendishly clever at the time. 

More entertainment and a lexicon of our own developed from Zappa and excessive listening to albums by the Firesign Theater. Frank taught me to spell Ronald Reagan’s last name as “Ray-gun.” Frank was in Chad, Africa at the time.

Frank was an immensely talented engineer (and a decent semi pro second baseman) who graduated near the top of his class, followed by a 17 year long pursuit of a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, while he traveled the world designing water treatment facilities for native populations and acquired a couple of master’s degrees along the way.

The last time Frank and I spent quality time together was 1993-94 when I represented him in Washington, DC pursuing a lawsuit to recover a bunch of money Frank was owed by a clever con man, who hired Frank to develop a computerized model and design for a sewage treatment “swamp“ in Morocco. Frank was able to explain to me (sort of...) how partial differential equations and “the Wronskian” could determine relative quantities of pollutants in the water oozing through this swamp in which the algae were breaking down toxic organic compounds from a slaughterhouse, partially treated sewage, and other “contributions” from the town upstream. 

I loved Frank Carroll as a wonderful man and true friend and I write these words to honor him and his memory. He was good to every living thing around him and dedicated himself to making this world a better place—and he succeeded. May you Rest In Peace, Bro’— I’ll see you on the other side.

Your friend,

Bill 

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