OBITUARY

Platt, Frank Cheney

November 6, 1932 – February 26, 2019

Palisades, NY

Advocate for Poetry and Poets, Dies at 86

Frank Cheney Platt, advocate for poetry, poets, literature and writers, dedicated husband and father, died on February 26, in Rockleigh, NJ. Following its founding in 1985, he helped to build Poets House, now headquartered in Battery Park City, into a national poetry library and literary center with a 70,000-volume collection. Frank loved poetry that “communicate[s] before it is understood” (T.S. Eliot) and captures what is “lost in translation.” (Robert Frost). In addition, he was committed to arts and culture as a means of protecting and cultivating principles of free speech and an open society.

He was born in New York City on November 6, 1932 and raised by his father Roger Platt, a teacher at St. Bernard’s School, his mother Frances Cheney, and his grandfather Frank Cheney Jr. of Manchester, CT. Frank was educated at St. Bernard’s, Dalton, Eaglebrook, Governor’s Academy (formerly Governor Dummer), and Harvard College. He worked in publishing before becoming president of the Farfield Foundation, and later an assistant Dean for Columbia’s School of the Arts.

In 2013, Frank was predeceased by his wife of 55 years Judy van der Gracht. She was the love of his life. His poignant dedication to her (including during her time with Alzheimer’s) inspired respect and admiration from all who knew them. Frank was also passionate about his extended family – the Platts, Cheneys and, on Judy’s side of the family, the Gilberts and van der Grachts as well as his dozen godchildren. His many longstanding and deeply-felt friendships were legion. Most involved a common love of music, poetry, literature and epicurean delights, not necessarily in that order.

Frank is survived by his three children Sophie Platt Pollok of Frankfurt, Germany, Arthur van der Gracht Platt of New York, NY and Roger Platt of Washington, DC and his grandchildren Esther Pollok, Lucas Pollok, Hilary Platt, and Benjamin Platt. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Poets House (https://poetshouse.org) and/or One-to-One Learning (http://www.one2one-learning.org) A memorial service will be held at 11am on Saturday, March 16 at Grace Episcopal Church, 130 First Ave, Nyack, NY, with Father Richard Gressle presiding. His remains will be laid to rest with his beloved wife in the Cheney Cemetery in Manchester, CT. The burial ceremony will be private.