David H. Frantz Jr.


David Herr Frantz Jr., a longtime resident of Martha’s Vineyard, died on January 19 in Tiverton, R.I.  He was 91 years old.

Born on September 18, 1922, in Lancaster, Penn., Dave was the son of David Herr Frantz and Edna Bachman Frantz. He grew up in Lansdowne, Penn. and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before joining the Naval Air Force in World War II. He was stationed in the Philippines and flew as a copilot and navigator with a patrol bombing squadron (VPB-119) in 1944-45. Later he enrolled at MIT to complete his BS (1947) and MS (1948) degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

Dave married his first wife, Margaret (Tebby) Tebbetts, in 1944 and moved to Woods Hole in 1952. They had two daughters, Heidi Frantz-Dale and Katherine (Trinka) Frantz. He worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in instrument design and testing.

In 1956 he moved to Martha’s Vineyard and in 1961, he and Al Wilson founded ORE (Ocean Research Equipment) on the Vineyard. This company later moved to Falmouth and became successful in building undersea sonic devices and flow meters. Dave commuted on his boat, Pilot, daily even when the ferries did not run.

In 1965 he married Beatrice (B) Bensaude. He was active in the Vineyard Simfonietta both as a violinist and violist for many years. He was an avid sailor, cruising with his wife to Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia in their boat, Nashawena. They were also frequent travelers to Europe, and in recent years he traveled to Iceland, Alaska, and Lake Baikal, Russia, and to Turkey in 2006 for the solar eclipse. He had a life-long passion for trains.

Dave is survived by wife, B Frantz, daughters Heidi Frantz-Dale of Madison, N.H., and Katherine Frantz of Wayne, Penn., grandsons Ben Frantzdale in Shrewsbury  and Christopher Dale in Valley Center, Calif., and great-granddaughters Alice and Anna Frantzdale of Shrewsbury,  as well as step-sons Stephen Terry Bachman of Baltimore, Md., and Glenn Bachman of New Bedford.

His ashes will be scattered at sea from his boat, Tracker. Donations in his memory may be sent to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.