Frank James Lord was the proud volunteer School Master of the Mashpee One Room School House for a decade, a Builder of over 250 Habitat for Humanity homes throughout the US, a Volunteer tour guide of historical Duxbury, a beloved Guidance Counselor and church Youth Group Leader, a retired Captain in the Navy, and a Lover of Ice Cream.
His family was inspired by the example he led; he was a life long learner who enthusiastically gave of his time and effort to champion causes he believed in, and to help others in every way of which he was capable.
Frank was born on July 18, 1932 and raised in Newton Massachusetts. He met his future wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Webber in 7th grade where he fell in love with her blue eyes and bubbly personality, and she fell in love with his squeaky corduroy knickers and the smell of his Vaseline Hair Tonic.
He loved the ocean as much as ice cream. In junior high school he read all the library’s books about adventures at sea, and he received a full Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Scholarship (ROTC) to Brown University. After graduating from Brown, he trained on the battleship USS Missouri and sailed the world from Norway to France to Cuba. He also trained with the marines for amphibious training and flight indoctrination, and then cruised on the destroyer USS Harry F Bauer to Brazil, Columbia and Cuba. After 3 years of active duty in the Pacific on the heavy cruiser USS Bremerton, he spent 18 years in the Active Naval Reserve and retired as a Captain.
Frank married his childhood sweetheart Betsy in 1958 after completing his active duty, and while he was earning his Masters of Education at Boston University and Betsy was starting her career as a microbiologist. Their daughter Jennifer was born in 1962 while they were living in Lexington, and after their son Jeffrey was born in 1964, they moved to Needham.
Frank always took an active interest in working with young people. He taught high school World Geography in Lexington and realized he found more satisfaction talking with students after school about their personal problems that were interfering with their school work. He decided he wanted to become a Guidance Counselor and returned to BU on a full scholarship for advanced graduate study. Students loved and respected him and flocked to his office with their issues. He was the kind of counselor whom students would call at all hours for advice and help, and he readily gave it. For those who asked him to write college or work recommendations, Frank spent countless evening hours writing recommendations personalized for each student. He also worked with young people in Sea Scouts, church youth groups and as a Sunday school teacher.
Throughout his life, he was very much involved in his church, serving on the vestry and participating in adult programs at St. John’s in Newtonville, Christ Church in Needham, St John’s in Duxbury, and St Peters in Osterville. At the time of his death he was an active member of the Mashpee Congregational Church.
Frank and Betsy lived in Brighton, Lexington, Needham, Duxbury, Mashpee and West Yarmouth. Frank worked for 38 years in education, as a Guidance Counselor in both Wellesley and in Duxbury.
After retiring in 1994, Frank and Betsy bought a small travel trailer and in January they headed south until it got warm enough to “turn right” and head home. On that first trip they had many “adventures” traveling across the country to San Diego, including stops in New Orleans, San Antonio, Big Bend, Grand Canyon, and an archaeological dig in Chaco Canyon Colorado.
For the next 12 years they spent four months every winter building houses with Habitat for Humanity throughout the south. On fateful 9/11/2011, they were working on a “Blitz Build” to construct ten houses in a week in Indianapolis. They felt a true sense of community during that fateful time.
By the time they sold their trailer, they had traveled in every state except Kansas, visited countless National Parks, and worked on over 250 Habitat Houses.
Based on their experience with Habitat, for 5 years they led their Duxbury church high school youth group to build or repair homes with Rural Missions in South Carolina, exposing Duxbury teenagers to a very different part of the country and culture.
Frank was the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society Education Chairman, and during the summer he volunteered to give bus and walking tours of Duxbury. Every year Frank and Betsy gave a power point presentation for all the 3rd grade classes about how Duxbury evolved as a town, beginning with the Wampanoags, the first ‘summer visitors’ to Duxbury. To learn more about the Wampanoag culture, Frank and Betsy attended the Mashpee Wampanoag Annual Powwow in 2000. Frank had a deep interest in learning about Wampanoag culture and history.
In 2003 Frank and Betsy moved to a duplex condominium in Mashpee’s over 55 Southport Active Retirement Community. Frank said it was “The best thing we ever did!” Frank joined the Mashpee Historical Commission and became the Schoolmaster of the One Room Schoolhouse. He was appointed to the Mashpee Community Preservation Committee, the Community Park Committee, and was elected to the Tales of Cape Cod Board of Directors, President of the Southport Woodworkers Club and Assistant Moderator of the Mashpee Men’s Club.
Frank enjoyed doing historical research and wrote a monthly article about Mashpee’s unique history as a Wampanoag town for the “Southport Village Voices”. He enjoyed sailing, swimming, wood-working, playing at golf, watching documentaries, and reading biographies and historical novels.
Frank received the first ever Historical Preservation Award in June 2019 from the Mashpee Historical Commission to honor him for his decade of work as School Master of the Mashpee One Room School House. Frank and Chief Flying Eagle Earl Mills were each honored with Historic Preservation awards. It was a special moment when One Room Schoolmaster Frank Lord rang the School Bell to open the ceremony. Another special moment was when Brian and David Weeden presented him with a Wampanoag braid of sweet grass “to honor him for interpreting the history of the One Room School House for everyone who has come through it.” The new School Master, Richard DeSorgher honored Frank with a speech calling Frank the "Master at being the Schoolmaster", a "Rockstar Celebrity" and "the best example of what Thomas Jefferson called The Active Citizen."
Frank was an enthusiastic sailor and went on many adventures. Last July 4th weekend he was still at the helm of a boat sailing in Martha’s Vineyard harbors with his daughter and son. Frank was active in the Mashpee Men’s Club, raising funds for the Boys and Girls Club. He looked forward to the annual meeting featuring Mashpee High School students talk about their school experiences, because he remained a guidance counselor and educator at heart. He attended the February 4th meeting to hear David Weeden speak, just a few days before Frank passed away.
Frank is survived by Betsy, his beloved wife of 61 years, their daughter Jennifer Blum and her husband Jonathan of Edgartown, son Jeffrey Lord and his wife Pamela of Plymouth, six grand children; Andrew, Christopher, Matthew, Michael, Mason and Madison, and his sisters Phyllis Higgins of Framingham and Lillian Milek of Michigan.
A private family burial service will be held at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, MA.
A Celebration of Frank’s Life will be held on Saturday, February 22nd at 1pm at The Club of New Seabury, located at 95 Shore Drive West in Mashpee, MA. Please join us to celebrate Frank by making your own ice cream sundaes, drinking coffee milkshakes, and sharing stories about Frank.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Frank's name may be made to Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod at 411 Main St, Suite 6, Yarmouth Port MA 02675, or to the Mashpee Congregational Church at PO Box 1796, Mashpee MA 02649, or to a charity of your choice.