FRANK, Cy August 3, 1949 - March 5, 2015
Rarely in one's life enters an individual who is so extraordinary as to evoke intense reactions of inspiration, enthusiasm, trust and deep affection. When these individuals are gone, they have, without exception, left too soon.
Such was the impact of Cy Frank and the duration of his life. He passed away suddenly on March 5, leaving all who knew him gazing in stunned silence at a gaping hole and wondering: What now?
Cy was 65. A trail-blazing orthopaedic surgeon, world-renowned researcher, tireless teacher, inspired innovator, and ingenious visionary, he left a legacy of better medical practice, wiser public health policy, healthier research, and more capable medical graduates.
Over a career spanning 39 years, he had published 275 papers, authored numerous books and chapters, served on 65 national and international committees, and held with others two patents for advanced diagnostic devices. He was also instrumental in founding two institutes: the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, a centre of excellence in research, and Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute, which is noted for its influence in turning the results of research into better practice. He developed with collaborators a world-class research program focused initially on the mechanisms of knee ligament healing. He assembled and led an osteoarthritis research 'dream team' in Alberta.
Cy's many accomplishments were well recognized. He had received more than three dozen awards and honours, not the least of which were the Order of Canada in 2014 for contributions to advancing orthopaedic health care services and for scientific contributions to bone and joint repair research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis) Knowledge Translation Award in 2013, and the University of Calgary's Killam Research Leader Prize in 2012.
While Cy appreciated the recognition, he was comfortable discussing it only when the contribution of others was included.
Perhaps Cy's most valuable gift was his ability to use his intellect, calm demeanor and humility to turn the most vocal doubter into a champion of his cause. And his cause was the patient. Cy held the abiding conviction that medicine and medical research must above all be in the interest of improving patient outcomes and that this could be accomplished in a sustainable public health system. He believed firmly that evidence must form the basis for medical decisions and health care policy.
He matched his conviction with tireless effort. At the time of his death, Cy was President and Chief Executive Officer of Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions, Alberta's leading health research and innovation organization, Chief Medical Advisor to Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute, a practising orthopaedic surgeon specializing in reconstructive knee ligament surgery, the McCaig Professor of Joint Injury and Arthritis Research, University of Calgary, and was advising Canada's health minister on how to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care.
Cy's commitment to the betterment of health care was exceeded only by his commitment to family. No matter how busy he was, there was always time with his wife, Joyce, and sons, Ryan and Tym.
He and Joyce were married in 1977 and started their family the following year with the birth of Ryan. Two years later, Cy completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery. Tym was born in 1981. An outstanding baseball player in his youth, Cy coached his sons' little league baseball teams. He spent many weekends teaching Ryan and Tym how to repair and maintain their cars, passing on to them his passion for things mechanical and his persistence in problem solving.
Shattered by the loss of Joyce to breast cancer in 2000, he remained a pillar of strength for his devastated sons. Discussions of spirituality, health, love, baseball and many other topics became commonplace during this difficult time, and served as a way of healing and coping for which Ryan and Tym will be forever grateful.
Cy found love and companionship with his partner, Hélène Levesque, until his passing, and her two children, Lauren and Devon Plante, adored him. He is survived by his only sibling, Geoff, of Cornwall, ON.
In his 65 years, Cy's was a life lived for making others' lives better. Truly extraordinary, his is a life ended too soon. A celebration of Cy's life and contributions to health care will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium, Kinesiology Complex, University of Calgary. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Cy can be made to support the Cy Frank Memorial Fund in Bone & Joint Health. Please send cheques payable to the University of Calgary with a memo indicating Cy Frank Memorial Fund to the Cumming School of Medicine Fund Development Office, 3330 Hospital Dr. N.W., Calgary, AB, T2N 4N1 or make your donation online (https://netcommunity.ucalgary.ca/SSLPage.aspx?pid=431).
Condolences may be forwarded to the family by visiting www.edenbrookcemetery.ca. Arrangements entrusted to EDEN BROOK FUNERAL HOME AND RECEPTION CENTRE, 24223 Township Road 242, Calgary AB, T3Z 3K2.
Saturday March 14, 2015
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