Frank Trafton Gutmann

EXETER, N.H. – Frank Trafton Gutmann passed away in Exeter, N.H. on March 2, 2020 after a brief illness. He was born on March 9, 1934, in Lewiston. He was the son of Helen Trafton and Frank Sanborn Gutmann and grew up in Auburn.

Frank graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy (PEA) in 1952 and went on to get a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1956, as well as master’s degrees in mathematics from both Yale (1957) and Bowdoin (1964).

In 1965, he married Lois Marilyn McGee and they had two children, Timothy and Cynthia. Their family grew to include a son-in-law, Keith Morgan, and two grandchildren, Sarah and Katie Morgan of Auburn. Frank and Lois lived for many years on Bayberry Lane in Exeter, N.H., and, beginning in 2005, at RiverWoods Exeter, of which he was one of the founding trustees. Many summers and vacations were spent at the house he helped build in Jackson, N.H.

Following service in the military, Frank taught mathematics at PEA for 48 years, from 1959 until his full retirement in 2007. He served on many faculty committees, and also had a turn as head of the mathematics department. He was director of student activities for many years, and an adviser to the outing club. He particularly enjoyed coaching crew. He and Lois lived and taught in Spain in 1965-66 and in Australia in 1980-81.

Frank was made an honorary member, by the class officers, of the PEA class of 1965. In 1990, he was named the George Albert Wentworth Professor of Mathematics at the Academy. Notes in his award include the following sentiments: “You are especially admired for your patience with novices, whether on the Squamscott, in the classroom, or — most remarkable of all — in the labyrinthine negotiations of committee work. Your thoroughness and even-handedness create a sense of security for all who work with you, whether as students or colleagues.” He was a true teacher, always seeking to help people learn and grow through positive experiences with the world around them.

Frank had many extracurricular activities and never enough time in which to do them. They included photography, hiking, camping, rowing, and canoeing/poling. He sang with two choral groups: Portsmouth Pro Musica and the Rockingham Choral Society. He was a registered Maine Guide while in his 20s. Frank also loved to travel and returned to some destinations for multiple visits. His favorite places included Austria, the Isles Of Shoals, Holland, Iceland, the Yukon and its Liard River, Alaska (the Kongakut River), the Grand Canyon, and the Galapagos. Favorite rivers in Maine included the Allagash, St. John, St. Croix, and the Marsh Stream in Belfast. He visited Baxter State Park with family and/or students on many occasions to camp, hike and sit for hours on the rock at the far end of Sandy Stream Pond, watching for moose.

Frank was predeceased by his son, Timothy, in 2007; and by his wife, Lois, in 2009.

Frank is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia and Keith Morgan of Auburn; his brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Peggy Gutmann of Broomfield, Colo.; two granddaughters, Sarah and Katie Morgan; two nephews; three great-nephews and one great-niece.

The family would like to thank the caregivers at Exeter Hospital and the employees at RiverWoods for their compassionate support.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Frank’s memory to either the RiverWoods Employee Appreciation Fund or to Phillips Exeter Academy. We know he would like to “give back” to all of the kind staff at RiverWoods who have been so helpful to him over the years. Education is also near and dear to his heart.

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