West Point Societies WP-ORG Services WP-ORG Home West Point Parents USMA Class Year Groups Greater West Point Family and Friends About WP-ORG

15456 Frantz, Robert Lewis
August 24, 1925 - March 16, 1993



Published Assembly Mar '95

Robert Lewis Frantz No.15456 Class of 1946
Died 16 March 1993 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, aged 67 years. Interment: West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York.

Bob always excelled in everything he did, and he made an extraordinary number of contributions. With wisdom, good humor, thoughtful preparation, and concern for others; his life was truly dedicated to service--to his country, family, friends, clients, community and church. He was born near Pittsburgh on 24 August 1925, the son of Charton Christopher and Gladys Baird Frantz. From grade school in Pittsburgh he entered Valley Forge Military Academy from which he graduated Summa Cum Laude, winning their Honor Military School appointment to West Point in 1943.

Cadet life during our three year course was challenging but not overwhelming. Both roommates had also come to USMA via Honor Military Schools, thus the wall of locker displays, close order drill, polished brass, shoe shines, etc. did not present quite the trauma that it did to many. The relationship quickly developed into one of mutual respect, an unspoken but clear spirit of competition, a prevailing sense of humor, and support to each other in every way. Besides a fine academic record, he participated in plebe track, cross country and basketball. For all three years he was a Corps Squad boxer and on the Class Ring Committee. Bob's quiet conquest of "the system" may be illustrated by one of many stories of cadet life. Yearling year we lived on the top rear floor of "the forgotten 50's" of New North Barracks (distinguished then from all others in that it had real inside plumbing on each floor). We had jointly installed a system to warn of the nocturnal approach of the tactical officer. It consisted of an alarm clock on the outside window ledge with an activating string that dangled down to the window of a confederate on the first floor. It worked flawlessly until one night, without warning, the TAC burst into our room, and, picking out Bob, told him to pull up the string. Surprisingly, there was something quite heavy on the end. Retrieval revealed a large potato sized rock; and the TAC dutifully, reported Bob for "installing a device to warn of the inspection of the tactical officer". But Bob remembered that a cadet had one inviolate place in his room, his personal articles shelf of the wall locker. Thus the rock became prominently displayed there, always carefully dusted. Some weeks later, the TAC, having faced the rock every day, suggested with a hint of humor, that the incident might best be considered closed.

Upon graduation Bob chose Cavalry (read Armor). Following Basic at Fort Knox, he served in the 18th Cavalry in Puerto Rico from l947-1950. In November 1948, Bob and Suzanne Holton Allen from Louisville, Kentucky were married. Three children blessed this devoted and close union: Charton Christopher II, Rodgers Allen and Ruth Patterson.

A year after his return to Fort Knox, Bob was selected to attend the Harvard Law School where he graduated L.L.B., cum laude in 1954. He subsequently served in the Judge Advocate General Corps in the Pentagon in 1954-1955, the 24th Infantry Division (Korea) in 1955-1956, and the Judge Advocate General's School in Charlottesville, Virginia in l956-l958. In 1958 Bob resigned from active duty and returned to Pittsburgh to continue a distinguished career in both the legal and military profession. In addition he established a legacy as a civic and church leader; all within the role of a loving, dedicated husband and father. He joined the firm of Buchanan-Ingersoll, first as an associate, later becoming one of the partners. He handled a broad range of litigation in both State and Federal Courts. These ranged from individual cases to many of the major corporations in our country. Every account of his actions during this time attest to his skill, fairness and integrity. Though a senior and highly respected attorney in a major firm, he would see to it that the probate of a private will that he had drawn decades ago was handled promptly and compassionately. In 1991, after 30 years, Bob retired from Buchanan Ingersoll and joined another distinguished firm, Raphael, Ramsden, Behers, which then added Frantz.

Despite this full life in the legal profession Bob found, or rather made, time to carry out his commitment to military service. Since leaving active duty, he graduated from the Command and General Staff School and took a leading role in Army Reserve activities. He retired from his "civil" military career in 1980, as a major general, having commanded the 99th Army Reserve Command for some four years. For this service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. His command contained over a hundred individual units located in half of Pennsylvania, most of West Virginia and some of Ohio. His colleagues who served with him during his 22 years of reserve service are universal in their opinion that he established a foundation of excellence in this command which made them ready and willing to contribute in full measure when called upon. Bob was the highest ranking reserve officer in the Class of 1946.

Despite two erstwhile full time careers, Bob was always a supportive and proud husband and father to his family. In addition, a few of the community and church activities in which he made large contributions are: Director of the Eye and Ear Institute of Pittsburgh; the Allegheny Heart Institute; a trustee of the Valley Forge Military Academy; the Boy Scouts; vestryman of the Fox Chapel Episcopal Church and later the Calvary Episcopal Church.

In March 1993 Bob succumbed to a heart attack. The several memorial services for Bob poignantly reflected the respect of the community and his professional colleges. Well over a 1,000 mourners filled Calvary Episcopal Church for his funeral. The dignity and performance of an Honor Guard from Valley Forge Military Academy, and the contingent from the 99th Reserve Command could not have been exceeded by the "Old Guard" at Arlington. Sometime later the entire legal community of Pittsburgh conducted a court day memorial session to Bob Frantz. The tributes from the judges, numerous attorney colleagues, fellow former Rules Committee members and others were both universal and overwhelming.

In the stirring and recurring words of his minister's funeral homily as he reflected on the wide ranging elements of Bob's life-- "Bob was all that, and much more."

Personal Eulogy


 Email Feedback FEEDBACK 


Return Home