Frank Lane, 74, Cameraman and Studio Engineer

From the Boston Globe

Francis X. Lane of Hyannis, formerly of Norwood, passed away peacefully at home on June 28 at the age of 74.

lane-BWBeloved husband of Nancy E. Lane. Devoted and loving father of his son Ryan C. Lane of Natick and adoring daughter Elizabeth B. Lane of Norwood. Francis was the youngest of eleven children born to the late Thomas M. and Nora (Cunningham) Lane of West Roxbury and the son-in-law of the late Patricia (Brown) Wolley of Norwood and Francis W. Cooney of TN. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Ronnie Lane of Braintree, and many nieces and nephews.

Francis (aka Franny, Frank and Fran) was a cameraman and studio engineer for WGBH TV (Channel 2) for 35 years until his retirement in 2003. He was the former president of NABET-CWA Local 18 and the former treasurer of the Barnstable Newcomers Bowling League. In addition to bowling, he loved the beach and playing cribbage, but his greatest joy came from spending time with his family and many friends.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, July 3 at 11 AM at the Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home (1248 Washington St. in NORWOOD) immediately following a visiting hour at 10 AM. Burial will be at Highland Cemetery in Norwood. The family is especially grateful to his dedicated nurse, Diane Munsell.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to VNA of Cape Cod Hospice, 434 Route 134, S. Dennis, MA 02660.

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Memories

Elizabeth Lane

My dear father, known as Frank to his ‘GBH family, passed away over the weekend. I always loved hearing his work stories (Zoom, the news, the Pops on the Esplanade, the BSO, The French Chef with Julia Child, This Old House, The Victory Garden…the list goes on), visiting him at the station, watching the Auction in hopes of catching a shot of him behind the camera, his days in Master Control, and his many escapades with his best friend, Greg Macdonald. He retired in 2003 after 35 years. Feel free to share your memories of my father!
Elizabeth Lane’s photo.
June 30 at 11:40am

Bob Manosky

I’m very sorry to hear this. Frank and I worked together on many many WGBH programs. He was a great guy.
June 30 at 11:50am

Ben Mayerson

Frank was such a character. He was a leader, a master of his craft, a Teddy Bear, and just an all around super great guy. To you my friend!!
June 30 at 11:51am

Tonia Magras

My deepest condolences! He was a dear friend and father figure to me. Always with a great big smile and bear hug! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. I will miss him dearly!
June 30 at 12:16pm

Jack Comeau

I’m so sorry to hear this. There was always something that seemed indestructible about him. At first look he could seem intimidating. I remember thinking, “Who’s this leg breaker?” It took only minutes to discovery his kind, sensitive sense of humor and intelligent. I love working with him on many of the shows that you mentioned above. The world will miss him.
July 1 at 12:17pm

Ilene Fischer

Truly one of a kind. Frank made every shoot that much more fun.
June 30 at 12:20pm

Emily Yacus

Frank was wonderful. I worked with him from 1998-2001 or 02, sitting as an admin assistant behind Master Control. Thanks for sharing these pics of him- I’m smiling and teary at the same time.
June 30 at 12:29pm

Chas Norton

Frank was perhaps one of the brightest persons I ever met; his insightful and trenchant words were always right on.

May he rest in peace!
June 30 at 1:41pm

Dick Heller

Back in the old everybody-does-everything days of the Auction, Frank took over as Director. After a few minutes he handed the headset back to me saying, “I’ll never talk back to you, ever again.” Wonderful guy, always a pleasure to work with.
June 30 at 1:51pm

Cathy Page

Oh no…. I’m so sorry to hear this. Frank was a wonderful guy.
June 30 at 1:56pm

Emily Norman

I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved seeing his friendly face around the hallowed halls of GBH.
June 30 at 2:04pm

Kevin Kalunian

I’m deeply saddened by this news about Frank , but happy that I got to know him on a few rare overnight trips for La Plaza, Say Brother, or other programs that we worked on for The Foundation. He spoke very highly of his colleagues, some who have posted here, and others that left us already for another journey elsewhere. Frank also often mentioned his family while we waited for some event to happen, or while at lunch. He will be missed dearly.
June 30 at 2:14pm

Nancy Walker

I’m so sorry for your loss….Frank was a gentle giant to an 8 year old Zoomer…after College I came back to work with your Father in the field …I was a Production Assistant for Local Programming…what a wonderful person..RIP Frank
June 30 at 2:17pm

Mark Helton

Frank was a true pioneer at Wgbh and the broadcast nation. I learned a lot from both he and Greg. It was a honor to work with your father. Although only a freelancer for gbh all these years, Frank always made me feel welcome at the station and with the union. A pleasure to work with. Peace to Frank, and to his whole family.
June 30 at 2:42pm

Scot Osterweil

Frank was a wonderful guy to work with. On Pops shows he was always Camera 2, the camera at the far back of the hall, getting the widest shots.
June 30 at 2:54pm

Scot Osterweil

In ’85 When Pops played the Lincoln Memorial, camera 2 was at the top of the Washington Monument. But more memorably, he was just a kind, thoughtful person.
June 30 at 2:56pm

John M. Sullivan

So sad to hear this. Frank was warm and wonderful man!
June 30 at 2:59pm

Kathy Gleason

I am so very sorry for you and your family,
June 30 at 3:25pm

Joe Forte

My condolences. Franky was a lot of fun to work with. Sad day.
June 30 at 3:33pm

Mark Helman

I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anybody as well-liked as Frank. My best to you and your family.
June 30 at 3:42pm

Courtnay Malcolm

Frank was one of the first people I met when I started at WGBH in 1991. When I directed the auction Frank and Greg would always play pranks on me and sometimes I would laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. My thoughts are with you and your family.
June 30 at 5:10pm

Maria Agui Carter

Frank was lovely and shot some of the first things I worked on at WGBH. So, so sorry to hear of his passing. Sincere condolences.
June 30 at 6:34pm

Mike Wilkins

We were happy to have Frank at the NABET 18 picnic last fall!
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June 30 at 6:37pm

Hilary Finkel Buxton

Sending sincere condolences… Frank was always kind, and wonderful to work with!
June 30 at 7:59pm

Alison Bassett

So sorry to hear this news, thinking of your family, and what a great and talented man your father was…
June 30 at 9:14pm

Frank Coakley

Frank was one of the first people I met when I came to work at WGBH in 1981. He was tough, smart, funny and most importantly a good friend with a heart of gold. RIP brother, my thoughts go out to his family and his many friends and admirers.
June 30 at 9:17pm

Amy Tonkonogy

I am so sorry to hear this. Frank always made me smile. He had such dedication to Gbh and taught me so much. My thoughts to your entire family.
June 30 at 9:21pm

Sharon Corey Sleicher

My time at WGBH was a few years ago but I remember your father because he was always friendly, kind and fun to be around.
June 30 at 9:24pm

Bruce Bordett

Such sad news. Many happy memories of working with Frank and Greg. He is, and will be missed. This shot from the day the Pope came to Boston… Late 70’s
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June 30 at 11:25pm

Marcia Hulley

So sad. Frank was a great friend and mentor to me — like so many others at wgbh. It was a delight working with him over the years. An amazing cameraman, an amazing man. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
July 1 at 12:17am

Sherylle Linton

Jones Frank was just awesome. I worked with him frequently back in my Say Brother days. I am profoundly sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace.
July 1 at 12:38am

Lo Hartnett

Whenever I saw frank behind the camera for pledge, I knew things were in good hands. He always made me smile.
July 1 at 5:38am

Russ Fortier

I’m so sad to hear about Frank. He was a wonderful professional. Attentive and pleasant, he was, as I recall, virtually error free as a cameraman on the shows I directed. Most notably, as others have mentioned was his camera (2) at Symphony Hall; a deceptively challenging position. I recall one broadcast in which Frank had to zoom back from a single shot of the concertmaster (first violin) to a cover shot of the entire orchestra over 32 (slow) measures of music; a devilishly long move. Perfectly done. So normal and routine for Frank to deliver that way.
July 1 at 7:56am

Jennifer Jordan

Love the shot of him shooting at the Kennedy School Forum! I remember him well from my days both at WGBH and directing the Forum. Class act and all around great guy.
July 1 at 9:28am

Elizabeth Lane

Thank you all so much for sharing your beautiful memories of my dad. It’s bringing us so much comfort hearing from people who loved my dad as much as we do.
July 1 at 9:56am

Syrl Silberman

I worked with Frank for 12 years at WGBH. He was truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever known and more often than not made difficult times in the studio less so. I could always count on him to do whatever was needed and do it well. I can honestly say that I loved him and fully understand how much you will miss him. I wish you comfort.
July 1 at 10:04am

Anne Sweeney

God bless your family. May Frank rest in peace.
July 1 at 10:23am

Jane Arsham

I had the pleasure of working with Frank in the “early” years 1968-80. He started a year after me and we had a great friendship. Frank laughed a lot (I can still hear him) and enjoyed both work and play. He loved to sing Irish songs and we joined him often at a pub in Norwood I think it was!! He was a talented camera man and always willing to pitch in and help out in anyway he could. I don’t remember him ever saying no when I asked (which was often). Although we lost touch after I left GBH, he remains in my heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
July 1 at 10:36am

Edye Baker

The auction volunteers loved Frank and the way he made them feel like stars!! MANY memories of him. Sincere condolences to you and your family.
July 1 at 12:14pm

Vladimir Stefanovic

My deepest condolences. Frank was really an awesome guy. RIP Frank.
July 1 at 1:45pm

Nora Sinclair

So sorry to hear! My sincere condolences. I loved working with Frank in the studio, always a pleasure.
July 1 at 2:00pm

Ben Mayerson

Literally on this day, I quoted one of the lessons Frank taught me. “I only move at one speed, and this is it.”

It wasn’t a statement of non cooperation. It was a declaration of pacing, proficiency, and calm. I recall that mantra often, from my teacher Frank Lane.
July 1 at 4:53pm

Susan Dangel

In my brain and heart, when I think of WGBH, I think Greg and Frank. Your father was one of a kind. All those Pops shows and how he made us laugh. So sorry for your loss.
July 1 at 11:46pm

Larry Lecain

I loved Frank. Kind, generous , welcoming,quick to share a good story. He seemed immune to the pressures of long lens camera work at Symphony Hall. Frank was willing to share his insight on the ironies of life, work and people he knew. I miss him.
July 2 at 7:03am

Christy George

I loved Frank, too. One moment at the Ten O’Clock News stands out: I covered John Lakian’s libel trial against the Boston Globe, and for five weeks GBH was the pool camera – a rarity to be so well staffed. So all the Boston TV stations were using video shot by Frank and Greg. And their reporters were blown away. Years of shooting the Pops had taught Greg and Frank how to follow the action seamlessly and gracefully. Their camerawork made the trial seem like a Hollywood movie. And when a much-lauded commercial station shooter filled in one day, all the reporters grumbled. They wanted Frank and Greg back! I was delighted our guys got the respect they deserved.
July 2 at 2:46pm

Elizabeth Lane

Love these stories!
July 2 at 2:48pm

Nancy Walker

The dynamic duo!!!
July 2 at 2:53pm

Mary Helen Doyle

Frank was always a bright light bouncing (in his big way!) through the engineering tape room downstairs at GBH. He always welcomed a quick fun chat, never really grouchy as I remember, despite whatever the day had been. I’m so sorry to hear that he has passed, I’ll never forget him.
July 2 at 9:49pm

Bernadette Yao

I am deeply sorry for your loss, Elizabeth. I send my sincere condolences to you and your family. I remember your father with great affection and I am so sad to hear of his passing. I always looked forward to seeing him since my childhood days on ZOOM, and through the years after college when I sang with the TFC, BSO & Pops at Symphony Hall, and during live pledge drives and auctions when I worked behind the scenes at WGBH. Years later, whenever I visited WGBH, he would greet me with that familiar grin, and share what was going on in the moment as if no time had passed. I will remember Frank and his kindness always.
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18 thoughts on “Frank Lane, 74, Cameraman and Studio Engineer

  1. Frank. Anyone who knew him smiled as soon as you mention his name. He had a signature smile. Which made part of Frank. Sense of humor that was always welcome. Looked forward to. Does the expression ” my side are killing me from laughing” say anything. I worked for B & G under John O’Brien, Lew Lloyd. Frank helped take my brother Charles under his wing and show him the ropes on being a cameraman. Helped give my brother a great opportunity to do something he really enjoyed. That is tough today. Doing something you love, enjoy, relish. Frank had that job. He liked people of all kinds. Was willing to talk, help, joke, work, eat, listen to anyone. Like a lot of people who were fortunate enough to work at GBH, we absorbed an education as well. We adjusted as or history around us did. Through all the good and bad around us in the world. It was the people at GBH who would put together something to explain to the world what was going on. Through the news, shows, documentaries. Through this process we also learned. Frank helped everyone he worked with make sure the interpretation of what was being shown was accurate. Yes I mean helped everyone. The Producers, Directors, Interviewers everyone. They all wanted Franks input when they worked with him. I was a simple B & G guy. Carpenter skills mostly but we did a lot more than that. Every small disaster that came upon GBH I helped with. Always around some corner, there was Frank to help complete my day. With some words of wisdom, phrase, joke or just to bust em. I did a lot at GBH. Worked doing many things when called on. Worked for the Country of Japan during a marathon that we filmed. Worked for the Secret Service when the Independent Debates were being taped at GBH. ( Security, I knew everyone working there and was part of Security.) During those time Frank was there to make me laugh. Him & Greg. Could not separate those two. Together we had a blast. I am very sorry for your loss. I wish I had known when his passing had happened I would have paid my respect. The way I was raised and in my mind. The ultimate compliment that can be given to another is to be called a Human Being. Because to be a Human Being truly one has to have the understanding of so much. The most important component is feelings and caring of your fellow man. Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. Frank was of the finest, Human Beings.

  2. As I read these comments, I realized there is really not a lot else I could have added, that would have said it any better than everyone else already has in this forum.

    As an “on the road” partner of Frank’s and later a co-master control operator

    FRANK WAS A MENSCH, AND I, TOO, LOVED THE GUY !!!!!

    Nancy, Elizabeth and Ryan, I am so sorry for your loss

  3. Back to the 1970’s: When Louise MacNamara and I were putting the Word Workers, Inc. series together for the 21″ Classroom, I thought of Frank as an ideal co-host and foil for Louise.

    His humor, grace, and affability would be a joy for our audience; grade school kids.

    He thought it over for a bit and decided to do it. Kids loved him, including my own who received Word Workers at their schools in Westford.

    Thank you Frank. And for your wonderful work on camera, saving me so many times…

    Fond Memories,

    John

    • John – I don’t suppose you have any footage of my dad from this series? I have been looking for years – so did my dad! – but we have never been successful!

      • Hello Elizabeth,

        I wish I had something. Can you tell me where you have been looking?

        I have been looking for another series I produced with The 21″ Classroom (aka The Massachusetts Executive Committee for Educational Television) and WBZ; (Nosotros).

        I will add “Word Workers, Inc.” to my search and let you know if I find anything.

        Is this forum the best place to find you?

        Knowing your father was a pleasure.

        • Thank you John! I just perform the occasional Google search and reached out a couple people at the station a few years ago but no one was able to find anything. Last night on this website I found the video with interview clips compiled for the 2015 reunion, including one with my dad, and with the first anniversary of his passing coming up on Tuesday, seeing his face and hearing his voice again was like receiving a visit from him!

          Feel free to contact me here or via eblane@gmail.com

          Thanks so much for your kind words.

  4. At the recent WGBH Alumni Reunion, Frank’s name came up among many of us who knew him as one of our colleagues. He was cheerful, professional and ever-supportive. I offer condolences to his family.

    Carol Jeffery, WGBH ’68-’69

  5. I am so very sorry to hear this news. Frank was a real treasure, both for his talent and his warm and generous nature. He was incredibly patient with, and tolerant of, “rookies” like me and like so many others. The camaraderie that existed at WGBH when I was there was extraordinary and Frank was a major cog in that wheel. Sincerest condolences to his family.

  6. Frank was one of the best to work with. We had good times and many laughs together. He was real.

    I will miss him.

  7. I’ll never forget Frank. An absolute nice guy of the highest magnitude, and what a sense of humor.

    On my very first shift ever as a table auctioneer, I was a complete nervous wreck. Frank was on camera directly in front of me, assuring me that I would be fine and “just keep looking at the camera lens.”

    When that tally light came on, Frank proceeded to dolly that camera directly into my face, stopping, no lie, a half inch from my nose. It was so ridiculously close that I started laughing and I got over my stage fright immediately. I’m sure he did that to all the newbies.

    So many stories….

  8. What can I say about a great guy that I worked with since the 60’s. I’ll miss him but we share a lot of good memories. There are two families that we have: the one that we go home to after work and the other at work.

    My heart goes out to Nancy and their two children. He won’t be forgotten.

    Benny

  9. Hard to believe this larger than life “Gentle Giant” has left us! I always enjoyed Frank’s wonderful sense of humor, and looked forward to the many times we worked together. A guy who never failed to break me up a witty remark or joke just before the red light on his camera came on. One look at his photo says it all. A beautiful smile with a big heart and soul to match it. RIP my friend.

  10. It should come as no surprise that of all the cameramen I’ve ever worked with Frank was the most laid-back, which made working with him in typically stressful situations a relative breeze. I’m sure everyone who worked with Frank has an interesting and, most likely, humorous story to share. But two moments with Frank in the field, while working on shoots for The Ten O’clock News, stand out in my mind.

    One day we were standing on a corner in Boston and the subject of my newborn son came up. I think this conversation took place in late 1990. Frank said to me, “Remember this moment because before you know it that baby will be grown and moving on before you know it and you’ll wonder where the time went.” He made reference to his own children then I told him I would remember that moment and I always have as I watched my son grow and graduate from college and then get married at age 24 last fall.

    The other significant thing Frank told me–very casually one day in 1989 when we were on a shoot gauging reaction to James Brown’s imprisonment in South Carolina–he told me about a hidden treasure that WGBH-TV didn’t even realize it had in its possession. As we were driving to Roxbury to do an interview at a record store, Frank said, “I was one of the camermen on the crew that recorded the whole James Brown concert in 1968 at Boston Garden the day after Martin Luther King was killed. They didn’t want too many people out in the street that night so it was arranged that WGBH would broadcast the concert live and then replayed it when it was done. We still have the reels in the WGBH archives.”

    My brain almost popped out of my head–not just because I’m one of the biggest James Brown fans in the world, but because any full-length recording of James Brown in concert in his prime is rare. I said, “Frank, are you telling me we have a full James Brown concert that I can access by calling someone in archives?” He said,”Yeah.” It was one of the greatest discoveries of my life. I did access that video and used it in my report, which prompted BET and Say Brother to follow-up with their own requests. That video has since reaped financial benefit for WGBH and is the centerpiece of an excellent documentary entitled: The Night James Brown Saved Boston. I credit that conversation with Frank Lane for bringing that forgotten video treasure to light.

    There are no words to adequately express how much we will miss his spirit. Marcus Jones – Reporter, The Ten O’clock News, 1986 -1991

  11. When I came for my television audition in 1971 — I was a newspaperman at the time — Frank was the cameraman. He said: “Listen, look right at the lens, noplace else. You’ll be looking at me. It will be just you and me. Nobody else.” It put me at ease. I got the job. He was always up, never down, in an industry where being up is too rare. What a loss.

  12. I’m very sorry to hear Frank is gone. I worked with him in the Ten O’Clock News in the 1980’s. It’s hard to imagine him not lugging that heavy analog camera around, carefully setting up for whatever shoot we’d cooked up for the day, moving at that deliberate, calm pace, unflappable. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  13. Frank had a wicked sense of humor. One late night at the Auction when we had tall, willowy models wearing gorgeous outfits, a model came up to Frank and said “hi, I’m Su-Su”. Not missing a beat, Frank said “hi, I’m Frank-Frank”. Frank and Greg were a dynamic duo – gbh’s own Bert and Ernie.
    Those were truly the wonder years of WGBH.

  14. Wonderful memories of a great guy. Love these tributes and looking at Frank’s sweet face. Peace to your family.

  15. So sorry to hear this! Frank was a great guy and a wonderful co-worker. My memories are all from the “early days” (Frank followed me on Camera 2 at Pops) but I’ll always remember the big bear of a guy with the great smile! Rest in peace, buddy.

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