John R. Frank, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of John R. Frank


There is one situation that arises in the life of all of us over which none of us have any control. With the passage of time each and everyone gets older.

Perhaps many prefer not to be reminded of this eventuality, yet it is the inevitable order of human existense that there is no magic that can postpone the flight of time.

Today we want to pay tribute to the oldest living member of the local American Legion Post 94. He is also the oldest practicing physician in Porter County.

Dr. John Ray Frank was born in 1888, and Thursday he will observe his 87th birthday. He is native Hoosier originally from Harrison County. Corydon, the first capital of Indiana, is its county seat. His German ancestors first settled in North Carolina, but, like many immigrants, drifted westward and by the time John Ray arrived his parents were farmers in southern Indiana.

After attending public schools in that vicinity, he attained a high school diploma from Central Normal College, then in Danville, in 1908. After an additional year in this school, he began teaching in a country school having 40 pupils for $50 a month.

About a year later he accepted a position to teach in a high school in Rockfield in Carroll County, where he received $100 a month, which was an exceptional salary for teachers in those days.

By 1913 he had saved enough money to begin his medical education at Indiana University. (He later borrowed some to complete his courses even though he waited tables and slept in a funeral parlor for his room during his last few years.)

In 1917, along with 38 others, he was awarded his M.D. degree. This was the largest class in Medicine that I.U. had ever graduated at that time. Of course, World War I was going on at that time and he received his greetings, so he entered the Navy. He was with the Marines and, for a time, was stationed in Cuba. Afterwards he was placed on a ship as the only medical officer for service until the war ended.

Following his discharge, he attended the Boston Psychopathic Hospital for special study for 15 months and then served as a. doctor in the New Jersey State Hospital for one year. The next year he spent at the New York Neurological Institute as a student and doctor for some additional training and experience before going to Los Angeles to start a private practice.

By 1928 he suddenly decided that he preferred to go to New Orleans, where there was an opportunity for the study and practice of becoming an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist. In 1930, he came to Valparaiso, where he has remained ever since. In 1932 he married Miss Agnes Webb, who died of a coronary illness in 1968.

There are two children in the Frank family, Phyllis and Tom. Dr. Frank proudly announced that he has five grandchildren, but only one grandson and the latter had plans to follow in grandad's footsteps.

Dr. Frank has been a member of the Rotary Club for many years and has always been a member of the American Legion wherever he happened to be living. In 1967 it was the good fortune of this columnist to be requested to grant him an award for his 50 years of Masonic service.

He feels that the earlier family relationship between the old time country doctor and his patients has changed considerably since he began practice. With all the constantly increasing discoveries, it was probably essential that the medical profession had to become one of specialization.

During the last several years he has not been as active as in his earlier days, but still grants attention when called upon for service. He gives much time to his farm near Hebron and takes great delight in growing grain and seeing the cattle cared for by his tenant.

When asked about the longevity of life, he answered that it was probably partly hereditary and yet constant care, correct dieting and the avoidance of cumulative duties that confront all people in all professions has much to do with the continuation of good health.

Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 108

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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