Kenneth B. Frankl

May 23, 1924 - June 16, 2014

Kenneth B. Frankl, an Amagansett resident who in the course of his legal career was a corporate attorney, a New York City assistant district attorney, and a private practitioner, died at home on June 16. He was 90, and had Parkinson’s disease for many years, and had a stroke in 2005.

Mr. Frankl was passionate about music and played the piano for hours daily, almost until the end of his life, his family said. He loved Shakespeare, bridge, football, and politics, along with his family and the Amagansett community.

As a member of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee, he “struggled valiantly, though vainly,” according to the family, to persuade East Hampton Town to clear contaminants from the old town dump rather than put a cap over it. In recent years, he avidly followed and supported the work of his wife, Jeanne Frankl, who chairs the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, and her colleagues.

Mr. Frankl married the former Jeanne Silver in 1973. Two things they were delighted to have in common, the family said, were living in Greenwich Village and vacationing in Amagansett. They settled in the Village, honeymooned in Amagansett, and almost immediately bought a house in that hamlet, to which they moved full time in 1996. A prior marriage, to Constance Kugelman of New York, ended in divorce.

Mr. Frankl was born in Brooklyn on May 23, 1924, the son of Hugo Frankl and the former Sydney Miller. He grew up there and in Long Beach, later living in Manhattan on Christopher Street.

After graduating from Long Beach High School, he attended Harvard College. His education there was interrupted by service in the Army. Among other places, he was stationed in the Pacific, where, the family said, he liked to point out that he was “in the Army, attached to the Marines, on a Navy ship.” 

He graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1947, and from Harvard Law School in 1951.

Mr. Frankl retired as vice president and general counsel of RKO General in 1984. He had also been general counsel at the Hazel Bishop Corporation, a lawyer at CBS, and in private practice. His fondest memories, the family said, were of his tenure as an assistant D.A. in the office of District Attorney Thomas Hogan — one of “Hogan’s Boys” — and as staff to the New York City Bar Association’s Special Committee on Public Defender Systems, where he prepared its 1959 publication “Equal Justice for the Accused.”

In Amagansett, beginning in the ’90s, Mr. Frankl was a frequent winner in duplicate bridge games. In the ’70s, working with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, he put in a quarter-acre pond on his property. He created and cared for a large vegetable garden, and later joined the Peconic Land Trust’s community farm.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Keith Frankl of Denver, and a daughter, Kathryn Balcuns of New York City. Two grandchildren also survive.

There will be a service at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons in East Hampton on Sunday at 3 p.m. Cantor Debra Stein will officiate. The family will receive visitors at the Frankls’ house after the service, and again on Monday from 4 to 7 p.m.

Burial will be private, at Green River Cemetery in Springs. Memorial donations have been suggested to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978, or to the Jewish Center, 44 Woods Lane, East Hampton 11937.