Part of Trailblazers, a series of profiles of Jewish men and women who build and sustain our Jewish community, supported by a generous donation from Carol and Norman Traeger.
After her mother “ran away” from her assisted-living residence and it was clear she had dementia, Lynne Frank knew just where to turn for help. With no time to spare, she needed to find a place where her mother would be safe and properly cared for.
Frank called Jerry Levine, executive director of the Jewish Home in San Francisco, who assured her, “I promise you that she’ll have a room.”
Frank’s mother, Anne Rubinchik, went on to spend her final 8½ years at the Jewish Home. That’s also where Frank’s father, Irving Rubinchik, and her husband, Roy, resided until their passing.
“I saw the kind of work they did and how they treated people,” says Frank, 76.
Now, Frank has provided the naming gift for the residences under construction at the former Jewish Home’s new San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living. Scheduled for completion by next spring, the Lynne and Roy M. Frank Residences will have 190 assisted-living apartments, memory-care suites and penthouse-level independent-living units.
This is Frank’s second major gift in memory of her husband, who died in 2003. She dedicated the Lynne and Roy Frank Family Lounge — a gathering place for birthday parties and other special occasions — in an older building in 2006.
Frank served on the Jewish Home’s auxiliary, holding fundraising events and a board position as vice president.
She and her current husband, Ron Page, who were married in 2009, help sponsor the nonprofit’s annual golf tournament fundraiser, and Frank took a leading role to help kick off the organization’s participation in Giving Tuesday.
“Lynne has always been passionate about the Jewish Home and the people that we serve,” says Sherie Koshover, who has known Frank for “umpteen years.” She’s the
chief advancement officer for the Jewish Senior Living Group, a regional network that includes the S.F. Campus for Jewish Living.
Describing Frank as “high energy” and “genuine,” Koshover adds, “She’s a very loving, sincere person. I adore her.”
Born and raised in San Francisco, and a longtime resident of the city before moving to a Palo Alto retirement community, Frank has a connection to the Silver Avenue institution and newly emerging campus that runs deep. When her mother was at the Jewish Home and Frank lived in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood, she’d visit almost daily.
Even today, one of the first things a visitor sees in Frank’s home is an engraved, pristine shovel from the campus groundbreaking ceremony. It’s hanging on the wall beside a framed certificate thanking Frank for her “extraordinary philanthropy.”
That philanthropy, however, goes beyond that S.F. institution.
Stanford Hospital is another recipient of her largesse: a gift to the new Family Resource Center and support for research, clinical and spiritual-care programs.
She has also been generous to Harvard University, where her son, Scott, got his Ph.D.
Other favorite causes include ORT and the City of Hope cancer treatment and research center in Southern California. Both were favorites of her mother, as well.
“My mother did the [annual Walk for Hope] for City of Hope,” Frank fondly recalls, “and I did it with my son. We used to go back to my mother’s house with bags of money,” where they’d sit and tally the funds raised.
“I came from a family that was far from rich. We were very middle class,” says Frank, who grew up in the Sunset District. Her father was a painting contractor and her grandparents owned a produce market in Mill Valley. Frank remembers fun times at the store and going with her grandfather to Manteca to pick up watermelons.
I was raised with tzedakah — giving back. It came with my family.
There was always a tzedakah box in the house, and volunteerism was a given. “My grandmother lived on the corner. She was a fabulous cook — she’d make dinners, charge her guests and give the money to City of Hope.”
They were a close-knit family with strong Jewish values. “I was raised with tzedakah — giving back. It came with my family,” she relates.
Frank’s mother served as president of Congregation Beth Israel, now Beth Israel Judea, in San Francisco. “I was bat mitzvahed at 12,” Frank notes with pride, adding that she was valedictorian of her religious-school class.
Her father came from an Orthodox background, her mother, Reform. Frank says she “agreed to be Conservative” and told her husband, “I won’t keep kosher, but I won’t keep pork in the house.”
Frank attended public schools and then San Francisco State University. She taught gifted sixth-graders (“they were smarter than me!”) and spent many years teaching hospitalized children at San Francisco General Hospital, the UCSF Medical Center on Parnassus and the Shriners Hospital on 19th Avenue. Frank has a lifetime credential in special education.
“I enjoyed it,” she says of her years as a hospital teacher, and her students “loved school.” For many of them, “it was a chance to interact a little bit” instead of being isolated in their rooms.
Frank gave up teaching to “be a full-time mommy” to Scott, who attended a Jewish day school (Brandeis) in San Francisco and was bar mitzvahed at Congregation Emanu-El, where Frank remains a member. She also belongs to Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame.
Scott, who has two children, lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The baby grand piano in Frank’s living room is covered with family photos, both old and new.
She met her husband on a cruise in 2007. A travel buff, she’d signed up for a 30-day cruise with two female friends, and they were assigned to the same dinner table as Ron. “We hit it off great,” she says. “We get along.”
The couple love to cruise: Their next adventure will take them to 30 countries around the world, and they’ve already got another world voyage lined up for 2022.
When not traveling, Frank is busy playing bridge, mahjong and Panguingue (“it’s like a complicated gin game,” she explains).
And you might just find her and Ron dining out for lunch or dinner.
“When I met Ron, I said, ‘I don’t cook, but I make great reservations, I have significant health issues and I never want to be married again,’” says Frank.
But when he proposed two years later, she couldn’t say no.
Frank has limited mobility in her neck, and is unable to turn her head from side to side. She says, with a smile, that her husband sometimes jokes, “I asked Lynne to marry me because I knew she couldn’t say no.”