The following notice and bio appeared in The Journal News May 24
“Robert Frankl, who fought in the Korean War and then battled the Town of Ramapo to form the Village of Wesley Hills, died Wednesday at age 87.
Frankl, who moved to Ramapo in 1968, was among a group of residents who became disenchanted with development policies under Supervisor Morty Baron, recalled Rhea Frankl, who was married to Robert for 58 years.
“It was the overall malaise of the powers-that-be at Town Hall, with not following the master plan adopted by the town,” she said.
Frankl was part of the Willow Tree Civic Association, which engaged in a bitter and costly legal battle that culminated with Wesley Hills’ December 1982 incorporation. The first village government was elected soon afterward.
“It took a couple of years, and they didn’t think we’d fight back,” Rhea Frankl said.
Robert Frankl became the first mayor, and “Mayor Bob” held the post until he retired 25 years later.
“He used to tease that he fell asleep and found out that they picked him as mayor,” his wife recalled.
The village’s founders were seeking equal treatment from Town Hall, which they believed was favoring the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
Former village Trustee Robert Rhodes, chairman of the grassroots group Preserve Ramapo, said the victory by residents of Wesley Hills provided the legal basis for the formation of the villages of Airmont, New Hempstead, Montebello and later Kaser.
Despite opponents’ claims the village was formed to keep out religious Jews, under Frankl’s leadership Wesley Hills accepted its changing religious composition, Rhodes said.
Frank Brown, who was village attorney during Frankl’s tenure and now serves as deputy attorney, agreed.
“One of the things Wesley Hills stood for under Bob and continues to, is that every person who comes to Village Hall should be treated fairly and treated the same,” Brown said.
Ed McPherson, who has served as a trustee since the village’s incorporation, called Frankl his friend, mentor and teacher.
“Always calm and reasonable, he listened to what I said and never criticized but kept me focused. … Bob imparted his wisdom subtly, often by what he did not say. I have come to appreciate his method and his kindness.” McPherson said.
Frankl was succeeded by David Goldsmith, who later retired.
The village’s current mayor, Marshall Katz, who was appointed to the planning board by Frankl, said the founder’s “passion for the village was something to behold.”
“Even though he’d been gone awhile, he would still call a couple of times a year to find out what was going on in the village,” Katz said.
Frankl served in Korea from 1951 to 1953. He was a strong advocate for veterans affairs and had served as president of the Rockland County Chapter of Korean War Veterans.
“The more that we remember those kids, the more that we will be sensitive to not letting it happen again,” Frankl said in a 2000 interview with The Journal News about the dedication of a new Korean War memorial in front of Haverstraw Town Hall.
Frankl had a career in sales before becoming a full-time mayor, Rhea Frankl said.
“He was a man for all seasons,” his wife said. “Charming, socially and intellectually active.”
Frankl and the former Rhea Kantner were married April 5, 1959. The couple moved to Boynton Beach, Florida, in 2012.
In addition to his wife, Frankl is survived by two sons, Steven and Joshua; a daughter, Tamara Morhaim; and five grandsons.
Arrangements are being handled by Palm Beach National Chapel Funeral Home, Lake Worth, Florida, where a memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society or Trust Bridge Hospice.