I am a day late in wishing my step-father a happy, happy birthday! After spending nearly three days in Lynchburg with our beloved “Pop” (as all 10 grandchildren call him), I feel like we’ve already reveled many times over. But anyone who knows Frank will understand when I say that he can never be celebrated enough.
|1984 - Mother and Frank with Johnny, Henry, and Frank's children Brooks and John.|
(Katherine was working in France)
I was seven-years-old when my mother married Frank, which means I must have been around six-years-old when I first met him. In other words, I am lucky enough to say that I have known Frank most of my life. I remember when my mother told Henry and me that they were going to be married my biggest concern was whether I would be required to change my last name, too (we didn’t). It just seemed a natural transition to have Frank be a part of our family; and nearly thirty years later it was equally natural that my first-born son share a part of Frank’s name (“West” – both of their middle names).
In a word, Frank is wonderful. He is a calming presence in our sometimes (read: often) dysfunctional family and it has been this way since I can remember it. He adores my mother and has been an ideal role model in helping me find the characteristics that are most important in my own life mate. It is a testament to Will that he is more like Frank than like any other member of my family – and I count my blessings every day for that.
|1986 - the requisite 'head in the stocks' picture for all Colonial Williamsburg tourists.|
Frank is hands down the finest attorney in Virginia. He could have excelled in any field, but he chose the hardest one on which to focus (family law) and has earned top awards and accolades from everyone he meets—from Supreme Court justices to pro bono clients. And while I no longer practice law, undoubtedly I attended law school and focused my own practice on family law solely because of Frank. He works harder than anyone I have ever met and has never once complained (unlike my mother and me who are both urging him to SLOW DOWN already!). But this is the work ethic I grew up around—a man who worked seven days a week practicing law, teaching at the local community college (and now at a top-ranked law school), leading and volunteering with countless bar organizations and has recently spearheaded a new movement in family law (Collaborative Law) all while unconditionally supporting my mother and family’s interests, needs and dreams at the expense of his own.
|2006 - receiving one of his many awards (The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Virginia State Bar)|
Simply put, everyone who knows Frank loves Frank.
|Did I mention that Frank is also incredibly funny?|
But perhaps most of all - Frances and George.
|March 2008 (Frances)|
|September 2009 (George)|
Or at least almost as much their mother.
Happy Birthday, Frank!! We all love you very, very much!