We are saddened to announce the passing of Frank J. DeSantis, CAE, Executive Director of the WSAUA for 53 years and Executive Director Emeritus for 2 years.
Recently, Frank had been experiencing challenges with breathing and congestive heart failure. Frank made his transition on Saturday morning, April 25, 2020 at the age of 87.
Some of you may have known him well during the years. In 1965, he and his, wife, Eileen were selected for the management of the meetings and administration under the suggestion of the late John W. Dorsey, MD and have kept the WSAUA close to their hearts ever since. He truly loved managing and working with all the wonderful leaders and members in the Section. He valued his relationship and friendships with all of those in the Western Section and considered them his “other family.” In fact, Past President Joe Presti Jr. wrote about the strong ties and sense of family he also experienced between his parents, Joseph Presti Sr. and mother Angelina with Frank and Eileen in the very early days which was published in the Mainstream Newsletter in 2018 with photos of both couples together from the mid-1960s displayed on the cover, a truly remarkable and ever lasting connection.
Frank was also the President and CEO of Harbor UCLA Research and Education Institute (REI) for 45 years, (now known as LA Biomed/ Lundquist Institute) in Torrance, California. There he established a reputation for his exemplary leadership and skills in organizational management. Frank worked with many physicians but felt that urologists were the greatest and most affable and he enjoyed their company.
In his years with the Western Section, Frank was instrumental in developing the 10 districts within the Section and the bylaws, financial policies, committees and meetings management for continued growth of the WSAUA. He was asked to set up the initial AUA Office of Education in Colorado, then in Houston. In grateful recognition of his development as a consultant for the AUA National Office, the Office of Education and the AUA Annual Meetings in the 70s, Frank was bestowed the prestigious Presidential Citation in 2011 at the AUA’s Annual Banquet in Washington DC . Frank was also honored at the Western Section on several occasions and was always grateful for the privilege to serve the members.
A comment from 1994 past-president Dr. Robert Gibbons sums up well many of the other comments received:
Frank had an excellent grasp of our Section’s organizational needs and personalities, and the communication skills to keep us focused to do the right thing for our members. The zenith of his foresight and negotiating skills was his management of the WSAUA Hawaii meeting after the hurricane destroyed the scheduled Kauai Hotel and he got us moved at no cost to the Grand Wailea in Maui-all within a few days. Frank’s ready smile reflected a warm heart that he shared with everyone. I’m sure that some of our questions and requests seemed outrageous to him, but he never showed this as he calmed us down and re-introduced us to reality.
The last annual meeting he attended was at Indian Wells in 2015 and the Program Committee Meeting in July 2019. He was happy to return to the meetings and reunite with many friends. Frank is especially proud that the Section is in good hands with his wife Eileen and three of his children, Kathy, Chris and Jeannie who continue the management of the Western Section.
If you knew Frank personally, you would remember him for his gregarious personality, work ethic, attention to details, and love of Italian culture and food. Frank’s legacy is the spirit of camaraderie and collegiality in the Western Section that members often say is what they love about it and what makes the Western Section meetings more personal and supportive.
The Western Section will greatly miss Frank’s wisdom, warmth, grace, style and good humor. Dio ti benedica sempre Frank!