Nicholas D. Frankforter

June 8, 1949 ~ January 9, 2021 (age 71)


Nicholas D. Frankforter of Eaton Rapids,

Nicholas Dean Frankforter, age 71, died peacefully on January 9, 2021 surrounded by his family and friends in Lansing, Michigan. Nick was born on June 8, 1949 in Lincoln, NE, moved to Kentwood, MI in junior high and graduated from Kentwood High School. He was a gentle, loyal and loving soul who greeted each new person he met with warmth, sincere interest and positive regard. Nick made friends easily and appreciated the uniqueness of each person and the richness of the cultures he felt blessed to encounter in his travels. Travel was one of Nick’s greatest joys, along with spending time with his wife, Dawn and son, Noah, of whom he was immensely proud. Nick was curious and creative, and made good use of every minute of his life. With the wealth of knowledge that came from reading, travelling and his openhearted nature, Nick loved to sit and talk together with friends about new ideas, and in his career was always eager and generous to pass on his professional knowledge to new social workers.

With a continuous string of projects, Nick enjoyed woodworking, home improvement, running, backpacking, art, music, poetry, gourmet cooking, cultivating his wine grape vineyard, making wine with his best friends and curating memorable experiences for his son. Nick and his father designed and built a hand-hewn log cabin with trees off the land in northern Michigan and worked with his parents and siblings to build another log cabin in Nebraska.

Nick earned a BS in Zoology from Michigan State University and joined the Peace Corps to serve as a teacher in the Fiji Islands for two years. He loved the Fijian people and his experiences profoundly influenced his personal life and professional work. Upon returning, Nick earned his teaching certificate from Grand Valley University, student taught in Dublin, Ireland, and later moved to Stuttgart, Germany to work as a civilian teacher helping US Army soldiers obtain their HS diploma. While working full time in Germany, Nick earned an MA in Psychology through Boston University and travelled to Spain, Morocco, Italy and other parts of Europe. Nick appreciated different cultures and loved to tell travel stories!

Returning to Lansing, Michigan, Nick worked as a social worker and the supervisor of the Day Treatment Center at St. Lawrence Hospital, working with people living with schizophrenia, and later as the Clinical Coordinator of St. Lawrence Dimondale Chemical Dependency Unit. He finished his career as a private practice psychotherapist in East Lansing, until his retirement in 2016.

Nick was predeceased by his mother and father, Glea and Weldon Frankforter and by his brother Gary Frankforter. Nick is survived by his devoted wife of 27 years, Dawn; their son, Noah; sisters, Mary Emmert and Lori Taylor (Mike); brother, Matthew Frankforter (Kate); sister-in-law, Carol; cousins, Cathy and Nancy Enlow; nieces, Jessica, Megan (Daniel), Christina, Vicki (Troy) and Lorri (John); nephews, Daniel, Jason (Brittany) and Zachary (LeAnn); numerous great nieces and nephews and many loyal, loving friends that stood by Nick through the good times and the hard times and shared his life’s journey, including the dedicated and loving friends of Team Robinwood.

Funeral Mass will take place 11 am Thursday January 21, 2021 at St. James Catholic Church, 1010 S. Lansing St. Mason, MI 48854. Visitation will be held Wednesday from 4-6 pm at the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel, 518 S. Main St., Eaton Rapids, MI 48827.

To accommodate those unable to be at the service in-person, you may join the service via livestream by clicking the hyperlink below at the time of the service, no password required. A recording will be available for a limited time following the service at the same link.

An order of service can be found below under the tribute video. 

"Due to health concerns, we require all visitors to refrain from physical expressions of condolences to the family such as hugs or handshakes. In addition, all visitors are strictly required to wear masks covering both their nose and mouth for the entire duration of their visit and to maintain at least a 6 ft distance from others. We thank you for respecting these requests.” In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Nick to two of his favorite causes, or to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Michigan, Arrangements were entrusted to the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel. Please visit our website to place online condolences, 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nicholas D. Frankforter, please visit our floral store.

 Order of Service


January 20, 2021

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel
518 S. Main St.
Eaton Rapids, MI 48827

Funeral Mass
January 21, 2021

11:00 AM
St. James Catholic Church (S. Lansing St. Mason)

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