By Lars Larson
Last night, my friend Gerry Frank celebrated his 93rd birthday, with a gathering of friends from all over the Northwest at the Yost Gallery in Salem. Four of Oregon’s living Governors (Brown, Roberts, Kulongoski and Kitzhaber) spoke. and then Gerry invited me up to say a few words.
Here’s a bit of what i said:
It’s a great pleasure to join you here tonight. I honestly never expected to be at an event where I spoke after Governor Kitzhaber, but it’s been a strange political year.
Four score and 13 years ago, Aaron and Ruth frank brought upon this earth the singular individual who we honor tonight.
It’s worth pointing out that, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, Gerry has afforded me a singular privilege. Near as I can tell Gerry has only worked for three men in his life: His father, Aaron Frank, the great statesman Senator Mark Hatfield and me?
When Gerry first went to work for me on the TV show NW Reports he was just a pup of 70. Despite his youth and inexperience, Gerry delivered. He traveled the northwest, to showcase great local travel opportunities… Great hotels, and restaurants, and the places right here in our own state that so many who have lived in the state their whole lives didn’t even know existed: From Timberline on Mt Hood, to Paradise on the Rogue river by jet boat…there was no place Gerry would not travel to tell a story about a place he knew people would like.
And he did it for a salary that wouldn’t get you soup and sandwich at Gerry’s Konditorei…well, maybe soup but no cake. All kidding aside, what Gerry did for KPTV and me what he’s been doing his whole life for the state he loves: Serving as the single greatest ambassador for Oregon and the Northwest.
A lot of folks born in his circumstances would have simply enjoyed life on the beach. Not Gerry.
Because Gerry comes from a family of leaders. Who started a great department store, known nationwide A family that employed tens of thousands over the decades since 1857 produced a governor for Oregon, who himself started the Oregon State Police.
Rest is not in Gerry’s vocabulary. He’s served in Washington DC, started and ran businesses, written what the Wall Street journal describes as Americas best guidebook to the Big Apple as well as the ONLY guidebook you’ll ever need to the state Gerry knows and loves the best; Oregon. A man whose counsel has been sought for decades and still today by young entrepreneurs and experienced politicians alike.
It’s a great tragedy that, despite Gerry’s love for Oregon, he has never let the state’s great wines nor Pendleton Whiskey grace his lips…but even still, it’s a pleasure tonight to lift a glass in honor of Mark Hatfield’s “Dollar-a-year-man”, the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court of Chocolate Cake, the Captain of the Konditorei, To Oregon’s third senator; My friend and mentor Gerry Frank.