Frank Asa Reynolds, M.D., Aug. 3, 1935 – Feb. 9, 2019
Frank A. Reynolds, M.D. lived to help others, from family to his entire community, passing away peacefully Feb. 9 in Spokane.
Dr. Reynolds saved many hundreds of lives. At the forefront of pediatric oncology care, he helped establish diagnostic protocols and treatments while challenging conventions and establishing his own. There was much tragedy, but there was even more triumph and joy. As Dr. Frank worked with his amazing staff and many extraordinary individuals, residents in the greater Inland Northwest had the highest success rates for pediatric cancer in the world.
Dr. Reynolds' career in the area spanned from 1965 to 2010. There are many lives that he touched, and many stories. In his practice, his main focus was on his patients and their families, and the battle of health and science. He conducted both a general pediatrics practice, who he called his well kids, and a pediatric oncology practice, who he called his sick kids.
Frank Asa Reynolds was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 3, 1935 to Frank B. and Mildred (Dolnig) Reynolds. Frank’s family moved to Madison when he was young, where he attended schools from grade through medical, involved in both academics and athletics. As an athlete, he broke Madison high school track and field records, was ranked second in state as an 18-and-under tennis player, and was a member of the University of Wisconsin crew. It was in Madison that young grade school-aged Frank met Sally Raphael Schwenker, marrying her on June 19, 1958. Sally was Frank’s and the family’s bedrock; she and Frank were devoted to each other for more than 60 years at the time of Frank’s passing.
Dr. Reynolds was an ROTC cadet in college, graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in 1957 and its Medical School as a Doctor of Medicine in 1960. Dr. Reynolds interned in Duluth MN for a year, and served as a U.S. Air Force pediatrician in Myrtle Beach SC, Milwaukee WI, and for the last 3 years at Fairchild AFB. Having achieved the rank of Major, Dr. Reynolds retired honorably in 1968. To prepare as a pediatric oncologist, Dr. Reynolds studied pediatric hematology for four years in Seattle at the University of Washington and Children’s Hospital.
Frank, Sally, and their family of four children moved back to Spokane in 1972 where Frank started his private pediatrics practice, working both at Deaconess and Sacred Heart Hospitals. Deaconess in the 1970s welcomed Dr. Reynolds to establish Spokane’s first Pediatric Oncology clinic, where he treated children until after Sacred Heart’s Children’s Hospital started their own Pediatric Oncology clinic, and where Frank finished his career. As Spokane’s first Pediatric Oncologist, Dr. Reynolds mentored many future doctors, including scores of students as a professor in University of Washington’s WWAMI program. Among his mentees was his general pediatric Physician’s Assistant Judy Felgenhauer, who he encouraged and supported to earn her medical degree from the University of Washington to become Spokane’s second Pediatric Oncologist.
Frank was the doctor for many years at Playfair Racetrack, caring for all who worked and attended there. He had a love for horses as well, raising and owning thoroughbred champions including Personable Joe, a Washington State Horse of the Year, and Dr. Carson, who at the California Derby led the field until the final straight, just missing out to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Dr. Carson was named after Dr. Reynolds’ colleague and gifted pediatric surgeon James Carson; several of Dr. Reynolds’ horses were named after his young patients.
Dr. Reynolds was preceded in death by his parents Frank B. and Mildred Reynolds, sisters Joan Leifer and Katherine Greisen, and nephew Michael Leifer. He is survived by his wife Sally Reynolds; brother Dr. James (Suzanne) Reynolds; sons Steven (Carrie Carlquist) Reynolds, Timothy Reynolds, and Frank Andrew (Michelle Gass) Reynolds; Daughter Anne (Terry) Smith; granddaughter Danielle (Kyle) Craigen; great granddaughter Eleanor Craigen; Sister-in-law Mary Ford; Brother-in-Law James Schwenker; Nephews Mark Giese, Paul (Katie Gillette) Giese, Daniel (Susan) Leifer, Michael Schwenker, and Daniel Schwenker; Nieces Elizabeth Fabrizio, Patricia (Marc) Pinotti, Kristin Prinz, and Bonice Leifer Sipley; and many grandnieces and grandnephews.
The family gives great thanks to the caregivers with Angel Senior Care, Moran Vista Senior Living, Sacred Heart Hospital, and especially those at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Dr. Frank was a leader in the founding of two organizations, important to him and the community: Candlelighters, now known as ACCOIN (American Childhood Cancer Organization of the Inland Northwest), and the Spokane Ronald McDonald House, both of which support families of children with cancer. The family asks for any donations to be made to either.
A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, June 14, 2:00 pm at the historic Manito Park north side shelter, 1702 S. Grand Blvd.
American Childhood Cancer Organization Inland Northwest
PO BOX 8031, Spokane WA 99223
Ronald McDonald House Charities Spokane