Frank Londy, cinema owner and longtime valley resident, died surrounded and held by his family Dec. 22 in California. He was 75. The following was provided by his family.
Frank Louis Londy was born to Margaret Frank and Irving Jerome Londy on Oct. 15, 1946, in St. Louis, Missouri, on the day the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series against the Boston Red Sox in game seven when Enos Slaughter scored from first on a single with his famous “mad dash.”
A graduate of Whitfield School in 1963, Frank was a standout athlete, devoted son and brother, wonderful friend and clever jokester who succeeded in getting the school to drop one of its graduation requirements by impersonating Fidel Castro in the headmaster’s office until his demands were met. Frank attended the University of Denver, where he studied political science and film. He was a member of the Phi Sigma Delta fraternity, where he built beautiful friendships that lasted his lifetime.
Frank met his wife Maureen in 1965. Maureen tells the story of Frank hopping gracefully over a fence, sporting his Beatles inspired shaggy haircut and signature thick glasses. She knew immediately that he had to be hers and followed him to Denver in 1967.
Frank graduated college in 1968. He moved back to St. Louis to work for his family’s business, Frank and Meyer Neckwear, and enlisted in the U.S. Army. One of his accomplishments was setting the Physical Combat Proficiency (PT) test record at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He ended his military service as a National Guardsman in 1976.
But Frank knew that his heart belonged in the Rocky Mountains. So in 1972 he, Maureen and their rescue pup Jeremy headed west in their International Scout II and began to build their life together in the most beautiful valley on earth, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Here he began what would become a lifelong career showing films in Jackson Hole.
Beginning with Sunshine films, Frank and Maureen showed movies all over the valley including the cafeteria in Teton Village, St. John’s Church, The Virginian and The Pink Garter Theater. He ran the Aspen Drive-in coincidentally in the same location where the Movieworks (which Frank built and opened in 1991) now stands. Frank and Maureen married in the summer of 1974. Their daughter, Meagan, was born in 1976. They built and opened his first theater, the Jackson Hole Cinema, on Pearl Street in 1977. They welcomed their son, Nicholas, in 1980.
It is impossible to summarize the decades that followed. Most accurately what could be said is that Frank lived. He lived his dreams by building a successful movie business purely out of a love for film and being able to work from home so he could always be there for his children. By playing softball. By coaching Little League, Babe Ruth League and American Legion baseball. By playing his guitar and singing Beatles songs at the top of his lungs. By marrying and building a family with the love of his life, Maureen. By raising Meagan and Nicholas with admiration and wonderment. By sharing his laughter and his wisdom with them. By instilling in them a reverence for all his greatest passions and inspirations. Especially: the Beatles, baseball and movies.
Frank’s mind was like an endless treasure trove of knowledge on that holy trifecta and beyond. Frank could share with you not just the facts (monumental and trivial), but the essence of nearly any subject. His passion for all history was vast and precise and was propelled partly out of pride for his own father, who was not only an awarded professional athlete, but also a highly decorated WW II veteran who received both Bronze and Silver Stars for acts of valor. Frank’s knowledge of American history, and the stories of trips to sacred battlegrounds across the West, could hold your attention for hours. And, of course, we will be hard pressed to find anyone who can fill his shoes as the family historian, but it will be an honor for us to try.
Frank drank up everything Jackson Hole had to offer. He was an avid skier, golfer, catch-and-release fly fisherman, horseback rider, tennis player and all-around outdoorsman. But it was the intricacies and nuance of his life in Jackson that held him most captive: a quiet herd of elk in the backyard; the way moonlight bounces off snow; trees. Coyotes. Sunsets. Horses. Rivers. His beloved dogs. If you knew Frank, you know how fiercely he loved and appreciated the planet earth and all its offerings, from geography to animals to architectural wonders and historic landmarks, in a way that inspired and awed you. So consider the magnitude of that love and then amplify it beyond measure, and you’ll begin to understand what it felt like to be loved by Frank. And so, alongside our overwhelming grief, we are astonished by our luck to have been his.
Frank had the ability to reflect back to you the very best of yourself and the world around you. His authentic and generous heart made people feel seen, understood, unafraid. He showed up for people and was fully present for this thing called life. And being with him felt like an invitation to be present too. To show up. To appreciate everything. And to laugh. Lots of laughter.
Famous for his profoundly witty and endless sense of humor, Frank always knew how to lighten and enhance the mood, and he did so right up to the end. Yet the reason Frank’s humor was so impactful and contagious was because it was balanced so beautifully with his sensitivity, his respect and his deep reservoirs of love for his family, his friends, his valley, his planet.
Frank was diagnosed with stage IV non-smoker’s lung cancer in July of 2020. He had previously been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016. His strength, love for life and incredible sense of humor helped him to persevere through these immense health challenges. Every one of his countless visits to cancer centers was, for Frank, an opportunity to make people laugh, no matter how unwell he was feeling. It was a difficult comedic venue, and Frank never shied away from the job.
Frank spent the last year of his life in Los Angeles to participate in a clinical trial at City of Hope. His family followed him there, unwilling to let him battle the disease without their constant love and support. Awestruck and overcome with gratitude, he would often say to them, “I can’t believe you would change your whole lives to be here for me.” Every time, they told him, “We learned how to do it from you.”
Frank is survived by his beloved wife and partner of 55 years Maureen; his children Meagan and Nicholas; his granddaughters Vivienne and Mabel Shapiro; his son-in-law Stephen Shapiro; his sister Ginger Tamarin; his aunt Nancy Kalishman; his many cousins, his nieces, his nephew, his sisters and brothers-in-law, and countless dear friends.
A memorial and celebration of life will be held this summer in Jackson Hole. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Teton Parkies, PAWS of Jackson Hole or the Animal Adoption Center.