Gerry Frank: In Memoriam

Statement from OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk

Few Oregonians witnessed more history or helped make more history than Gerry Frank. The longtime chief of staff to Senator Mark Hatfield, Gerry Frank was a business leader, philanthropist, mentor, bestselling guidebook author, chocolate connoisseur, and the first and only individual to officially be proclaimed “Oregon’s Premier Citizen.” Above all, he was a tireless and eloquent advocate for all things Oregon. Indeed, if love for Oregon were measured in gold, then Gerry Frank, all by himself, was Fort Knox.

In 2020, Gerry gave a treasure trove of memorabilia, acquired during an eventful life and career, to the Oregon Historical Society. Perhaps the highlight of this donation is a remarkable collection of over 100 leather-bound scrapbooks that document much of Oregon’s business, political, and cultural happenings during the second half of the twentieth century and the first two decades of the twenty-first century. In recognition of his lifetime of service to our state, a display honoring Gerry is part of OHS’s board room and meeting space, the Mark and Antoinette Hatfield Room.

I know that all members of the Oregon Historical Society join me in extending our condolences to Gerry’s family and the countless individuals who were fortunate to call him a friend.

Gerry Frank judging the chocolate cake competition at the Oregon State Fair. OHS Research Library, Gerald W. Frank scrapbooks and memorabilia; Coll 855; Vol. 131, P. 22; 001