Lucinda Franks Dies at 74; Prize-Profitable Journalist Broke Molds

In 2017, when the media was flooded with stories of sexual harassment against women, Ms. Franks wrote an opinion piece for The Times recalling the nudge of her male colleagues about her Pulitzer.

“Grateful to gain a place in the hierarchy of power,” she wrote, “we have not understood how the deterioration of the sexes has shaped our working lives.”

Lucinda Laura Franks was born in Chicago on July 16, 1946. Her family soon moved to Wellesley, Mass. Her mother, Lorraine Lois (Leavitt) Franks, was involved in civic activities including serving as president of the Wellesley Junior Service League. Her father, Thomas E. Franks, was the vice president of a metal company.

Growing up, Ms. Franks wrote, found her parents’ marriage grim, and left the house as soon as possible. She went to Vassar, where she studied English and immersed herself in the counterculture. After graduating in 1968, she moved to London.

Her mother died in 1976 and Mrs. Franks had little contact with her father. She later learned that he had been unfaithful to her mother, was a heavy drinker, and had become almost penniless over time. And it wasn’t until the end of his life (he died in 2002), when she was moving him from his crowded house in Milford, Massachusetts, that she was shocked to discover boxes of Nazi paraphernalia and cryptic documents. She found out that he had been a secret agent during World War II – an experience that would torment him, as she would find out.

As a former spy, he had been sworn to secrecy. But Alzheimer’s devoured his memory, and under the relentless questioning of his daughter, he revealed its secrets.

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