Dr. Linda Frank, 58, plastic surgeon

October 02, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Dr. Linda Frank, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who worked with women recovering from breast cancer, died Sunday of complications from diabetes and Crohn's disease at her Washington, D.C., home. She was 58 and lived for many years in the Garrison Forest section of Baltimore County.

Born Linda Frangowlakis in Williamson, W.Va., she earned a degree in chemical engineering from West Virginia University and, after graduating, worked for IBM to earn tuition for medical school.

She earned her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed a residency in surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1981.

"She cared tremendously for her patients," said Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., associate dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and professor of cardiac surgery. "She was the kind of physician who brought hope to the people she treated. There are times when plastic procedures are trivialized medically. But Linda, who understood people so well, helped them with their lives and to get through difficult times."

Dr. Frank, who shortened her name to make it easier for patients, established a private practice and often worked with oncologists who were treating women diagnosed with breast cancer. She had offices at Greenspring Station and in Rockville, and performed breast reconstruction surgery on patients who had undergone mastectomies. She also performed various types of plastic surgery.

"It made her feel wonderful to make her patients feel whole again after their surgeries," said Mary Wagshal, a friend of many years who lives in Boca Raton, Fla. "She helped women get their self-esteem back. Her patients loved her."

She stopped practicing in 2001 because of her health problems.

"She was one of these people who packed a lot of living into every day. She was striking and stylish. She knew how to carry off a good look with the right attitude. She was optimistic and a hard worker," Ms. Wagshal said.

Friends said Dr. Frank enjoyed travel and shopping trips. She also bred German shepherds.

In 1981, at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, she wed George P. Mahoney, a former Maryland Lottery commissioner and candidate for governor in 1966. He died in 1989.

In 2000, she married Constantine Peter "Buzz" Beler, owner of the Prime Rib restaurants in Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia. He survives her.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Galler's Funeral Home, 5130 Wisconsin Ave. in Washington.

Survivors also include two brothers, George Ray Frangowlakis of Hampton, Va., and Charles Mitchell Frangowlakis Jr. of Roanoke, Va.; and two sisters, Elsie Frangowlakis and Edna Nichols, both also of Roanoke. Her marriage to Dr. Walter Koerber ended in divorce.

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