Dad died peacefully in his sleep. It may be the only thing he did peacefully in his life.
Frank Mann was a Force of Nature. If he was in the room, you knew it. Frank lived his life on his own terms. He was his own spirit. When life kicked him down, he got up, told it to piss off, and pushed harder. Frank was a piece of work. He was eccentric.
After college, Dad became an early proponent of the potential for computers and was a rock star sales leader - first at IBM and later at Keane Associates. But the only thing Frank disliked more than suits… was authority. He left corporate America and became a serial entrepreneur.
He founded many companies even into his late 70’s. Mann Data was a hugely successful software consulting company. It grew by his perceptiveness about people, perseverance, and lovable personality. Countless martini lunches may also have played a role.
He never met a rule he didn’t want to break, a person he didn’t want to chat up, and he was the life of every party. He loved to laugh and have fun, joking, poking, and prodding. He was happiest when causing trouble. His mission at birthdays and weddings was see how much embarrassment he could inflict on the guests of honor.
Frank had zero patience with status or privilege. He identified with people who were interesting because of who they are, not where they came from or what they’d acquired.
Dad’s passions were skiing and sailing. He bombed down the mountain like the wind. His was the first boat in the water in the spring and the last boat out in the fall. He raced to Bermuda 5 times, most recently on a 28 foot boat.
He went in to recovery in his mid fifties after a close brush with death by liver failure from alcoholism. He spent the next 30 years helping others succeed in AA.
Dad was generous without constraint. He was the first to offer a hand no matter what the ask or what he had to give. And his friendships were staggering. It boggles my mind the number of people who were endeared to him and regularly checked in to see how he was doing.
Frank laughed easily and often, nothing kept him down. He remained remarkably current and interested in technology, politics, and the many people around him. At age 80 with cancer, he--along with my stepmother--got a puppy. His innate curiosity and interest in the world around him never waned.
He was a loud, raucous, lovable pain in the rear to his family and friends to the end.
It can be hard having a larger-than-life parent. I’ve kept a folder on my computer for decades called “Frank World.” And being Frank’s son wasn’t easy. But I wouldn’t change it for anything, and I’ll miss him and his fun-loving, engaged spirit forever.