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Donald Frank, 80, sociology professor

Donald Simon Frank, a retired sociology professor whose combat experiences in World War II led to him becoming a pacifist, died of cancer Wednesday at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville, where he had lived since 1997. He was 80.

Mr. Frank was born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park. He was a 1942 graduate of Forest Park High School, where he had played football and earned the nickname of "the Green Hornet."

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He enlisted in the Army and served with a combat engineering unit in the Pacific.

"He was wounded in New Guinea, which left him blinded in the left eye, and for the last 60 years he has carried shrapnel in his brain. He was decorated with the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts," said his son, Jason A. Frank of Lutherville.

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"He was 60 percent disabled at the time of his discharge and his wartime disabilities left him very much opposed to war. He became a pacifist, and felt anyone who advocated war was an idiot and those who had been through it knew better."

During the 1960s, Mr. Frank opposed the Vietnam War and participated in many anti-war demonstrations. Last year, his son said, Mr. Frank opposed the war in Iraq.

After World War II, Mr. Frank attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and made its football team.

"He played for Paul 'Bear' Bryant, who coached Maryland in 1945. He played in two games before leaving the team because of malaria and his wartime injuries," Jason Frank said.

Mr. Frank earned his undergraduate degree there in 1948, and a master's in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1950.

He began working in Washington for the old U.S. Wage Board, and from 1953 to 1960 for Baltimore's Planning Department. He was a Social Security Administration policy analyst at Woodlawn from 1960 to 1963, then for a decade operated Donald Frank Consulting, which specialized in group vocational counseling.

In 1974, he joined the sociology department of what was then Towson State College, where he taught until retiring in 1993.

"At Towson, he enjoyed counseling adult students who had returned to school and those who had disabilities. He encouraged them by saying, 'Never take a step backward,'" his son said.

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He was the author of several books, including On the Way to Work, which was published by the Epilepsy Foundation in 1968.

A former resident of Nerak Road in Northwest Baltimore, Mr. Frank lived part of the year at a second home in Barbados.

He was an accomplished swing and tap dancer and had appeared in several theatrical productions at Broadmead that featured his dancing. He also enjoyed reading and swimming.

Mr. Frank was a lifelong member of Disabled American Veterans.

He was married for 47 years to the former Lenore Sharp, who died in 1993.

Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. today at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery, on Berrymans Lane in Reisterstown.

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In addition to his son, Mr. Frank is survived by three sisters, Adele Cohen of Baltimore and Ethel Spiegel and Johanna Safer, both of Miami; and three grandchildren.


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