Elizabeth Sherwood Frank of Houston died on Saturday, August 20, 2022. She was 27 years old.
Liz is the beloved daughter of Jane and Stephen Frank and the beloved sister of William and Caroline. Liz was in her fourth year of medical school at Baylor College of Medicine.
Liz was born on August 21, 1994 in New York City, and was raised in Darren from the age of 4 years. She attended Pear Tree Point School, New Canaan Country School, and Greenwich Academy.
Liz was a talented athlete in all respects and enjoyed football, lacrosse, skiing, tennis and golf. However, her sports passion was gymnastics. For many years, Liz competed in the Darien YMCA Gymnastics. I loved the camaraderie of the team and the fitness of my intense daily workouts. Liz will come home cheerful after evenings at the gym.
While her favorite event was the uneven bars, she also loved the vault, floor, and balance beam. Liz reached level 8/10 and won a medal in many competitions across the country. Liz had to end her gymnastics career after injuries sustained in her early teens.
When gymnastics injuries and the development of an autoimmune condition curtailed her athletic activities, Liz directed her energy toward intellectual pursuits, especially math. At Greenwich Academy, under the guidance of a beloved teacher, she and a few of her classmates pursued extracurricular mathematics in college-level study.
During her senior year, Liz won the Leo J. Whelton Award for Excellence in Mathematics, the Graduate School of Science Award, and the Spanish Language Award. She was also a two-year member of the Cum Laude Society.
Liz continued to pursue her passion for mathematics at Williams College, even as she pursued a course of study before medicine. In theoretical mathematics I found beauty and purity above other STEM subjects. Liz came to believe that mathematics underpins the core of how the universe evolved and that it exists outside of human consciousness.
At Williams, Liz has found professors and colleagues who share her academic passion. In 2014, Liz won the Erastus C. Benedict Math Prize. In her senior year, Liz wrote and defended a thesis titled Exploding Toric Varieties with Multidimensional Continuous Fractions.
Liz Magna graduated with honors cum laude in Mathematics in 2016. Most importantly, Liz found lifelong friends in Williams who shared her kind and generous spirit. While all of Liz’s friends were dedicated scholars, they very much enjoyed board games and low-brow television. There is photographic evidence of bats’ zealous operations during annual wilderness trips to Bald Head Island in North Carolina.
Wanting to gain real-world experience before entering medical school, Liz joined the Dana-Farber Children’s Cancer Center in Boston. Performing an analysis of statistical data to support childhood cancer research, Liz has co-authored five published scientific articles. She was telling anyone listening that there is a dearth of resources devoted to childhood cancer research compared to adult cancers.
In the next step in her journey, Liz earned her high school diploma at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and plans to specialize in pediatric oncology after graduation.
Liz’s remarkable ability to connect with children stems from her respect for their dignity as brothers in humanity. Liz found contact with children throughout her life. From training Tumblebugs at Darien YMCA gymnastics during the high school summer to training at Ronald McDonald House in New York City during college summers, Liz saw a career in pediatrics as a natural progression of her dedication to caring for children. She was in the process of applying to residency programs for children at the time of her death.
At Baylor, Lis’ analytical mind and interest in deep philosophical questions led her towards Medical Ethics course in the course of her studies. She was keen to discuss the difficult situations clinicians face when weighing the costs and benefits of further medical treatment, particularly in cases where quality of life issues lead to more interventions of questionable benefit to the patient.
Liz was also interested in how the medical profession could best care for young people with chronic diseases who are transitioning from pediatrics to adult medical care. She served children outside of her formal training, volunteering to spend time with her “children” during dialysis treatments and teaching high school sickle cell patients.
Liz loves reading, especially speculative and science fiction. Liz saw fiction as a way to examine the big existential questions that humans have been thinking about all along. Her favorite author was Ursula K. Le Jean, a pioneer in taking science fiction from the pure genre to the higher echelons of literature. Liz loved not only Le Guin’s classic novels, but her short stories, poetry, and translation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching novel.
Although she was a natural introvert, it wasn’t difficult to move Liz into a moving conversation. Of course, anything to do with science, medicine, or childhood cancer research was a hot topic. Another way to ask her was about the nature of human consciousness. Once sped up, Liz can go on for hours discussing vague topics like the possibility that humans actually live in a matrix-like computer simulation or whether we really have free will.
Liz spent her childhood summers at her grandparents’ home in Westport, Massachusetts among siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. As an adult, Liz loved reading in the yard, swimming in the Westport River, and playing board games in the evenings. She described Westport as her favorite place in the world.
Among Liz’s best friends are her siblings, Will and Caroline. Reflecting their close relationships, Will recently asked Liz and Caroline together to be his “best man” at his upcoming wedding. When Liz and Will both lived in the Boston area after college, they regularly met up with friends after work for evenings of intense play on the board.
The Frank Family of Five, which is “five” in family parlance, was a court unit. Liz loved her nuclear family and her family adored her. The pandemic and Liz’s move to Houston made getting together even more difficult. Despite the limited opportunities, each meeting was eagerly awaited and cherished by everyone.
Board games, home-cooked meals, and lively banter were staples in Frank’s home. As Lord of the Rings geeks, the possibility to watch extended versions of the film trilogy was ever present.
Liz, a huge fan of Gandalf, met actor Sir Ian McKellen in 2013 after watching a Broadway production of Waiting for Godot. Made famous by family tradition, when Sir Ian turned to greet Liz at the door of the theater after the show, she was utterly surprised and had to rely on her sister to get the Playbill signed. A highlight of LOTR was watching the 2015 live orchestra versions of the films shown at Lincoln Center.
Liz will be missed for her dry wit, calm intellect, and personal embodiment of her everyday priorities. She sought to live her life according to her values without compromise.
In her pursuit of a career in medicine, Liz planned to work for a more equal distribution of healthcare resources. She has inspired others through her resilience and perseverance in the face of 15 years of personal health challenges and her dedication to a life of service, science and medicine. She will be missed by her family, friends, and countless children who would impact their lives as a pediatrician in the future.
Liz is survived by her parents, Jane and Stephen. Her sister Caroline. her brother Will and fiancée Avani Madaba; Many aunts, uncles and many cousins. Liz died by her adoring grandparents, Betty and Jay Rainey, Brooke Frank, and Walter Frank.
A memorial gathering was held on October 15 in Westport, Massachusetts. Instead of flowers, please consider supporting childhood cancer research by donating to Alex’s Lemonade Stand via Liz Memorial Page.
– obituary From Bradshaw Carter Memorial Services to the Funeral, Condolences Can Be Left Online