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Rev. Vance E. Frank

December 14, 1926 ~ April 19, 2019 (age 92)

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April 21, 2019

Rev. Vance E. Frank

ORANGE- Rev. Vance E. Frank, 92, of West River Street, died on Friday, April 19, 2019 at Quabbin Valley Healthcare in Athol.

Born 12/14/26, Warren, Ohio, the son of Howard E & Nellie M (Vance) Frank, known to his family as “Buddy”, the childhood nickname given by his father. He graduated from Braceville HS in 1945 and in September 1944 he entered Bluffton College where he met the love of his life, Treva, whom he married on 9/4/1948. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Bluffton in 1949. In 1965 received his Bachelor of Divinity from Oberlin College, and was grateful to be present when the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the commencement address. In the summer of 1946, he volunteered as a “Seagoing Cowboy” with Heifers for Relief (now Heifer International) on a ship sailing from Virginia to Poland carrying chickens and horses.      He was hired as minister of the Methodist/Congregational Church of Huntsburg, OH, and was ordained by the First Christian Church of Newton Falls OH (Disciples of Christ) in 1953, with the understanding that he would complete his seminary training. After his ordination, he served churches in Huntsburg, Unionville and Lyons OH, and Rumford & West Paris Maine, before settling in Orange in 1972. He served as minister of the 1st Universalist Church of Orange from 1972-1992 and the First Church Unitarian of Athol from 1984-1992. He also provided pulpit supply for many area churches of all denominations and performed many wedding and funeral services for members of the community including for those who were not members of his congregation.

Vance was continually involved in issues of social justice. He was active the civil rights movement in Cleveland Ohio during the 1960s collaborating with the Black community to address segregation in the schools and was recognized by the community for this work.       While serving as minister he always held a 2nd job, from bill collector to automobile factory worker, county health department sanitarian, substitute teacher, salesman, sales manager, and night watchman. While in Maine he served as vice president of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, held a seat on the regional school committee and in 1968, he was elected president of the UU Ministers Association of the Northeast District. He was a 32nd degree Mason. He had a lifelong love of music and a wonderful sense of humor.  He loved spending time with his grandchildren and his great grandchildren playing piano and singing, telling jokes and being silly. In retirement he enjoyed time with family, gardening and reading, and walking around town, stopping to chat with friends and strangers alike. 

He leaves his wife of 70 years, Treva, and six children: Michael Frank of Orange, Karen (Richard) Mays of Fitzwilliam NH, Julie Frank (James Randall) of Mead, CO, Bonnie Frank (Kenton Tharp) of Orange, Anita (James) Henry of Orange and Daniel (Allyson Hart) Frank of Gardner, 18 Grandchildren and 14 Great grandchildren, sister-in-law Mary Reichley and several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be held at the First Universalist Church of Orange, 31 N Main St, Orange, on May 5, 2019 from 3-5 pm.   

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Mennonite Central Committee, U.S., 21 South 12st, Akron PA 17501, or to Bluffton University, 1 University Drive, Bluffton, OH 45817-2104.

The family wishes to express it gratitude to the staff of the Dana Unit at Quabbin Valley Healthcare and to GVNA Hospice for their compassionate care.

Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange, is directing the arrangements.

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May 5, 2019

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
First Universalist Church
31 North Main Street
Orange, Massachusetts 01364

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