I was one of those 1500 college kids who came through his environmental ed for teachers classes back in the mid 70's. Frank was the quintessential teacher. He was smart and articulate and could bring the subject area to life in his classroom. Beyond that, Frank was an inspirational human being. He was full of warmth, kindness, and radiated humor and good will. He had a unique personality - self deprecating and funny, scholarly and always a gentleman. In his personal life, Frank lived the way he taught. He grew his own food, he designed and created a model solar house, and he took public transportation (or, for some outings, his restored propane powered 1964 Chevy Nova). He always carried his hankie for a napkin, his own containers for bulk item purchase at the "health food stores" of the day or to carry home leftovers from lunches or dinners out. He never used a clothes dryer. He had both indoor and outdoor clothes lines placed in the most efficient area to dry his laundry. He composted in his front yard, washed dishes by hand, took short showers (his average PG&E bill was $11), and prided himself on not creating any garbage. He made headlines in 1994 when he spared with the San Jose City Council after the city ruled that he had to pay a monthly garbage bill even though his house didn't generate any trash. This man reduced, reused, recycled everything.
Frank cared very much about his friends but he was single most of his life. I think that is largely because his passion about the environment was his life. Most people want to be number one on their lover's life list. Frank's sweetheart would always have had to settle for being number two. Frank and I, however, enjoyed a wonderful sweetheart relationship in the late 70's. He made me laugh and think and he told me I was beautiful. We listened to Jackson Browne in the park and took lovely walks in the wilderness. But I wasn't finished with adventures and he wanted to focus on his corner of the world so I went off to South America and he went back to SJSU.
Frank died of a sudden heart attack. I think he just cared too much about the Earth, about his friends, about the future. He certainly practiced what he preached and his was the epitome of a truly simple life. Not many people will be able to follow the minimalist lifestyle he followed but we can learn from his example. His life showed that such a life is possible.
I loved Frank very much. As a physicist, Frank knew that energy is never created or destroyed. It is only transformed from one state to another. His body has returned to the earth and his spirit and legacy live on. Thank you, Frank.