Frank Masley – In Memorium

14233122_1563686203658987_1132912510518343458_nEarly on the morning of Sept. 10, Frank Masley, three-time Olympian passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer.  Not only was Frank a great athlete, he was an incredible human being who touched so many of us.  In the early 90’s, Frank was part of a collaborative effort to design the Luge track here in Park City. His technical knowledge as an engineer and experience as an athlete were invaluable. The Wasatch Luge Club exist because of the track…….  so as a way to honor Frank for his contribution to Luge and this club, we created this memorial page for people to share their stories, photos  and tributes to Frank.  You don’t have to be from Luge nor do your stories have to be about Luge to post.  After an appropriate time, we will collect the posts and present a hard copy to Frank’s wife Donna and his children.

8 Comments

  1. Gordy Sheer says:

    Frank will always be a hero of mine, as an athlete, volunteer, business person and most of all a human being. He was fair, understanding and kind to everyone he met. When I was 12 or 13, Frank gave me some pointers on negotiating curve 12 on the old Lake Placid track. It was so cool that Frank Masley, Olympic Team flag bearer, took the time to help a little punk like me. I will never forget his kindness, willingness to share, love of the sport and all those surrounding it, something I would witness over and over for the next 30+ years. Thanks Frank – I will miss you.

  2. Betsy Hickey says:

    Betsy Sparkes Hickey I was a few years behind Frank at CHS and have many fond memories of him. If I recall correctly he was part of the group who rode the scooters through the breezeway/hallways for their Senior prank. He introduced so many of us to the world of Luge. I just learned today that Frank was instrumental in the Muskegon Track in Michigan. I will have to plan on a visit since it is a few short hours from us. Prayers for Frank and his family. You got this Frank, kick it to the curb!
    Like · Reply · 2 · September 10 at 10:39am · Edited
    Pamela Edwards
    Pamela Edwards I remember hearing about the scooter prank. Frank was very proud of that!
    Like · Reply · 1 · September 10 at 11:36am
    Steven Masley
    Steven Masley My dad has told me the story of that prank more times than I can count 🙂
    Unlike · Reply · 3 · September 10 at 12:00pm
    Betsy Sparkes Hickey
    Betsy Sparkes Hickey Steven Masley, I happened to be in the area when they came in, fond memory. I am so sorry to learn of your dad’s passing. Treasure his spirit.
    Like · Reply · 2 · September 10 at 12:18pm

  3. Ron Rossi says:

    I know many within the luge family know Frank, but many of our younger sliders never got the chance to meet him. In so many ways, Frank embodied what USA Luge strives for, and, in fact, what the entire Olympic Movement strives to be. Frank was a 10-time National Champion, a 3-time Olympian, and, of course, carried the flag for the United States into the Opening Ceremony at the 1984 Winter Olympic Games. As a member of that team, my pride swelled as he became the first US Luge athlete given the honor of carrying the flag. Frank has been described in so many great ways – he was kind, good-hearted, humble and always carried himself with grace and a smile, but I also knew him as a fierce competitor. No event showcased this more than the 1984 Olympic Trials. Frank made an uncharacteristic mistake in the first selection race and essentially had to win out to make the Olympic Team. He won the next race and then everyone realized that to make the team, he needed another victory that would displace one of his best friends in the sport, Paul Dondero. It came down to .003 seconds, with Frank winning the spot, but what I remember most was not the victory, it was both Paul and Frank seeking each other out after the race – Paul to congratulate Frank, and Frank to console his friend. Such an event might divide two people, but both went on to become great friends throughout all these years. Frank was the guy everyone respected…..and liked – even when he was beating you on the ice. I had the utmost respect for him as a competitor, but more so as a person – and that was affirmed by the life he led after luge. As good a luger as he was, he was an even better man, husband, father and business owner. In fact, his business is a rare ‘made-in-the-USA’ success story where he set up shop in a depressed neighborhood, and along with his wife, Donna, turned it into a success. We all meet so many people in our lives, but rarely do we have the honor of meeting anyone as good and pure as Frank Masley. He always did it the right way. R.I.P. my friend,

  4. Martha Hays says:

    When our son, Ben was flying Blackhawks in Afghanistan, his crew sitting in the open back of the helicopter with machine guns were suffering from the cold because the army issue gloves weren’t warm enough. Ben called us one Sunday morning asking if we could go to Masley Gloves website and order gloves for them. We immediately started asking for donations through our church and on the internet, and I called the company Monday morning. I was so surprised when the owner of the company answered the phone! He helped me choose sizes, and then he said he would pay shipping to get the gloves there. The first shipment went out Tuesday, and five days later, those guys had warm gloves. The money kept coming in, and we were able to send another shipment to another group of guys. With Frank’s help, we sent nearly 60 pairs of warm gloves to those guys. We’ve seen some of them over the last eight years, and they always tell us that those gloves saved their lives. We will always remember Frank for his generosity and kindness as he worked on this project with us.

  5. Tammy Smith says:

    My time as a US Jr. National Luge Athlete was very short and also very sweet. I’ll never forget the time I needed a ride into town to go to REI to pick something up. Frank was so kind he offered to give me a ride. Little did I know he was going to spend the next hour or so bending my ear about how USA Luge could revolutionize our start based on a study he did using a mouse trap on wheels! I can’t remember if he wrote a paper on this or if it was his thesis, exactly but he gave me a very detailed physics explanation for why he felt it would make us MUCH much faster. I was truly honored to hear his theory, and at the end of it, he turned to me and asked “So what do you think of that?” I was kind of blown away, this brilliant man, asking ME my opinion!!?? I mean, HE was the expert, not me!! I humbly said, “Yeah, Frank, I think it’ll work!” After the trip to REI we went back to the OTC and he showed me the model he made to prove his point, that we can conserve a huge amount of energy (and therefore TIME) by keeping our torso “down” and closed rather than up/open during the handle release phase of the start. He had a mouse trap on wheels and had affixed rubber bands to the back to hold the trap in place and it clearly went much further using the “closed release position”. This was HUGE. I don’t know if Frank invented the change in the start, but I believe he did for the start in Luge was Dick Fosbury did for the high jump and NOBODY knows about it! if Frank didn’t invent it, he sure did validate it with his study! I’d like to think we should call it the Masley start in his honor.

    I am so sorry for your loss Masley family. My heart is with you at this time, he was such a kind, generous man.

  6. 'STASH' Stanley says:

    I have the wonderful good fortune to be part of what I refer to as ‘Frank’s First Glove Adventure’. Back in 1986-1987 I worked with Frank (when he was an engineering student at Drexel University) to manufacture custom gloves that the US Olympic Luge Team wore during the games in Calgary. Frank told me that the Russians tried to steel them because they were so superior to what they had them.

    I could tell then that Frank Masley was a VERY, VERY SPECIAL man. I could sense that he had the spirit of an entrepreneur.

    As I sat at his Celebration of Life Ceremony yesterday in Wilmington DE these thoughts came to mind:

    At heaven’s gate we are asked ‘What did you do with the gifts that you were given’?

    When Frank Masley was asked, he paused and thought before answering: ‘I tried to love and respect my family, friends, teammates, co-workers and members of the community as hard as I could. I gave them everything that I had each moment I was on earth’.

    God smile in appreciation of Frank’s humility and said: ‘You must have done a LOT MORE that that, Frank, based on the number of message that I have received. They told me that believed in of what others were capable and that you always tried to help create a smooth track for them to ride’.

    Frank did not know what to say but he flashed his warm, warm smile.

    The God said: ‘Sled on into my house Frank and revel in the beauty of what will follow for every soul that you touched. You have exceed My expectations’ !!

    ‘Now, can you teach me about luge’ ?

  7. Deb Sanders (provencal) says:

    To Frank and his family, I wish I could be there to offer my thank you for being such a kind and wonderful man. I knew you as a teenager through my mid twenties as a team mate to my brother and I. I was so proud when you represented our sport carrying the flag. My heart breaks for our world as you are laid to rest. May the memories you have blessed us all with allow us to smile in your memory. Strength to your family as they carry on in your footsteps. Much love and admiration, The entire Sanders Family

  8. Rob Doorack says:

    Frank was a genuinely nice and humble man who treated everyone in the sport equally, from his fellow Olympians to recreational sliders. I can offer one story about him. In the late ’80s a sad sack named Ken showed up in Lake Placid. He had gone to a summer recruiting wheel sled event that Bonny Warner put on in California, where on his first time on a sled he made a hard right turn into a chain link fence and broke his leg. Despite that inauspicious start, and being somewhere around 40, Ken convinced himself that he was destined for the Olympics. He bought a used sled and assembled it himself. On his first run from the tourist start Ken was wildly all over the track. One of the coaches looked at Ken’s sled and discovered that he had put the steels on reversed, so he was running on the rounded outer edges! Ken stayed all season, eventually working his way up to women’s start but showing only the most modest ability. His grandiose confidence never lessened however and he constantly told every one how he would easily make the Olympic team. Late in the season, Frank slid in a training session with Ken. It might have been Empire State Games training or maybe he was just doing it for fun, I no longer remember, but Frank slid from women’s start with an assortment of juniors and Masters. The track announcer decided to prank Ken so after Ken’s last run he called out an absurd time, seconds quicker than Frank’s best. Frank played along with the joke. In the finish house he clapped Ken on the back, congratulated him on the great time, and said “I guess you’re better than me today.” Someone eventually let Ken in on the joke, but he suspected that the joke was telling him that he hadn’t actually beaten Frank. Ken disappeared after that winter (I heard he stole a truck in Saranac Lake and drove it back home) but I will always remember how Frank, a multi – time Olympian and US National Champion, was cool enough to participate in a silly prank.

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