Published: October 3, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – Francis Lowell “Frank” Coolidge died peacefully on August 31. A retired partner with the Boston-based international law firm Ropes & Gray, where his specialty was estates and trusts, Frank moved to Charlottesville in 2013 after his retirement, drawn to the area by an interest in Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, a Coolidge ancestor. Coolidge shared the interest with his wife, Marylouise Redmond Coolidge.
M.L., as she is known, served as Northeast Auction’s director of client services before her retirement. She told Antiques and The Arts Weekly, “Frank loved antiques. I think it began with a blockfront chest that he inherited as a teenager. On car trips to Maine, he would beg his mother to stop along the way to buy Canton china.” He later prized Chinese armorials for the American market, Northeast’s founder and owner Ron Bourgeault said.
“I met Frank at the Ellis Memorial Antiques Show when we were both quite young. Soon after he married M.L. and they were expecting their first daughter, they helped me with the most elegant tag sale ever of Booth Tarkington’s things in Kennebunkport, Maine. Frank and M.L. were a complete team, great friends of mine who brought up two wonderful daughters,” Bourgeault said.
“I’ve been thinking about how Frank was just the kind of collector I liked – passionate about the objects and their history, and willing to share his knowledge… The export porcelain folks are a highly competitive bunch, but I know they – and all the people Frank knew associated with antiques – will miss this fellow collector and connoisseur,” wrote Rebecca J. Davis, Northeast’s ceramics, glass and silver specialist.
Coolidge was born August 4, 1945, in Waltham, Mass., to Francis Lowell and Helen Read Curtis Coolidge. A 1968 cum laude graduate of Harvard College, Coolidge earned a law degree from Boston University in 1971, the year he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar.
In a memorial posted on its website, Ropes & Gray said Coolidge “was possessed of great character and integrity, which was reflected in both his professional accomplishments and his commitment to public service.” Coolidge served as national chair of the American Cancer Society, among his many philanthropic endeavors.
In addition to his wife, Coolidge is survived by his daughters, Georgina Lowell Coolidge and Lucy Read Coolidge; and his sisters, Mary Coolidge, Georgina Bogetto and Ellen Burbank.
Services were September 13 at Memorial Church, Harvard University. Coolidge asked that his ashes be placed in a bombe tea caddy the couple acquired from Israel Sack, Inc. “The note from Albert Sack, who had delivered the caddy to Frank at his office, went with it,” said M.L. Coolidge. Ashes and caddy are interred at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Mass.
Gifts in Frank Coolidge’s memory may be made to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, PO Box 217, Charlottesville VA 22901 or the American Cancer Society of Massachusetts, c/o Chris Thomas, 30 Speen Street, Framingham MA 01701.
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