Frank Vilanova Comas
COMAS, FRANK VILANOVA - born Francisco Comas i Vilanova, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Monday, March 22, at home. He was a research and clinical physician in Oak Ridge and Knoxville ending his career as the Director of Radiation Oncology at UT Hospital in 1994. At that time, his colleagues initiated the "Frank Comas Annual Cancer Oration" to honor his "relentless pursuit" of medical excellence and his "wit and wisdom" in driving his fellow dedicated colleagues. He was born on February 16, 1926 in Barcelona, Spain, to Josefa Vilanova i Montiu and Francisco Comas i Durall. He grew up with his sisters, Rosa and Pepa (Josefa), during a time of tumult that included the Spanish Civil War. He enjoyed music, sports, and spending time with his uncle, Pelayo, on their farm in Premía D'Ált. After entering the pre-medical university program at the University of Barcelona, he endured a terrible accident that would shape his whole life for better and for worse. On March 13, 1945 he lost both legs in a traffic accident on the streets of Barcelona. He spent a summer recuperating with the help of his loving family especially his sister and cousins Consuelo and Mercedes. By the fall of 1945 he re-entered medical studies to the applause of his classmates and was carried from class to class by friends, especially his childhood friend, Salvador Perez i Fabra. In 1950, he completed his M.D. and a Ph.D. in medical studies. During this time he was fitted with steel and leather prosthetic legs and he re-learned to walk ensuring a lifelong love of his independence that continued until the end. Sojourns in the U.K. and Germany as a medical resident led to appointments at hospitals in St. Louis, Colorado Springs, and Toronto. By 1958, he was a radiation therapist in the medical division of the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies (now OR Associated Universities). He worked on cutting edge radiation treatments of cancer with his colleagues there until switching to clinical practice in 1970 at UT Hospital. He mentored, questioned, upbraided, prodded, and most of all, cured as many as he could. Through a mutual devotion to contract bridge, he met Mary Ann Behymer (now Marion Von Beck) in 1962. They married in September, 1963. Together they had two sons, Jeffrey Ross Comas of Knoxville, TN and Jordi Ross Comas of Lewisburg, PA. After divorcing in 1977, Dr. Comas and his former spouse remained co-parents to their sons and close friends attending many family events together over the years. After retiring in 1994, Dr. Comas enjoyed a quiet life visiting with friends and family, especially a group of scientists and physicians who met monthly for lunches. He always called them "the old fogeys" and loved his time with them. He enjoyed reading books, including those written by his cousins, nephews, nieces, and daughter-in-law. He spent his final months in the care of UT home hospice and greatly appreciated their care. His forebears were doctors, entrepreneurs, and sea captains, and he embodied all as he crossed an ocean to learn to heal and traversed tragedies that would have laid many low. To those blessed to know Dr. Frank V. Comas, we will always recall his generosity of spirit and wealth, his wit, his eloquent way with words in letters and even e-mail, his love of music, his keen intellect, and perhaps most of all, the resiliency and courage that molded his long life and marked his final days. Frank Vilanova Comas is survived by: his elder son, Jeffrey, his wife, Laura Ann Comas, and their children, Jody Ann Comas and Cole Robert Comas; his younger son, Jordi, his wife, Virginia Lee Alice Zimmerman, and their children, Elijah Xavier Zimmerman Comas, Alexander Pau Zimmerman Comas, and Dorothea Marie Zimmerman Comas; his loving and beloved older sister, Rosa Comas i Vilanova and all her children, all of Barcelona; his godson, Pere-Albert Balcells i Comas; his close cousins, Consuelo Vilanova and Mercedes Vilanova, and their children, also of Barcelona; and many other friends and relations. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The American Cancer Society. Family and friends will gather at the Woods Memorial Auditorium, located at UT Hospital for a memorial service at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24. Arrangements by Lynnhurst-Greenwood Chapel.
Published by Knoxville News Sentinel from Mar. 23 to Mar. 28, 2010.
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11 Entries
Dear Jeffrey and Jordi,
Dear Jordi,

My condolences to you and all your family. Uncle Franz was a incredible person that always will be in our memories as like Tia Rosa said "the best one".

Maria Balcells
April 7, 2010
To the family of Dr. Comas,
I think Dr. Comas is the reason I have a father. My mother was pregnant with me when my father was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease on July 4, 1976. Dr. Comas recommended my dad not undergo chemotherapy after his radiation treatments, and we credit that with saving his life. I'm now 33 and have a young son of my own that my father so enjoys spending time with. I'm so appreciative for the early expertise of Dr. Comas. Our family cannot thank him enough.
Jessica Ennis, daughter of Ralph Howard
March 26, 2010
Dear Jeff, Jordy and family, we extend our deepest sympathy to you at this time of great sadness. Margaret, Jennifer, Charlene and I feel honored to have lived next door to you and your father for 14 years in Knoxville. Your dad was a delightful man with a kind heart who was always there with an encouraging word in times of need.
It feels like something really special has been taken out of this world.
He will be sorely missed.
With our deepest sympathy,
Richard & Margaret O'Donnell
March 24, 2010
Jeff, Jordi and family, Jill and I will miss Frank very much. He touched us both very deeply in the short time that we had the great pleasure of knowing him. I remember him getting excited and nervous at the same time while cooking him dinner then laughing about it afterwards. Frank was a man of deep thought and sharp sense of humor and will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathy.
Richard Jack
March 23, 2010
Dear Jordi, My sincere condolences to you and yours. - Greg Clingham
March 23, 2010
I thank God Dr. Comas treated my cancer in 1993. He played a large role in saving my life. What a quirky but loveable character. He made me feel special.
Wilma McNabb, Lenoir City, Tennessee
Wilma McNabb
March 23, 2010
Heartfelt condolences.

Mara de Gennaro and Alex Dunlop
March 23, 2010
Dear Jordi, Virginia and family,
Our sincere condolences and regards to you during this sad time. But we know that happy and contented memories are what you will be left with. What a fine heritage of courage and inspiration your father and loved one has left you.

Phil and Sharron King
March 23, 2010
Dear family,
I have always felt privileged to know your remarkable family. It was wonderful seeing Jordi, Virginia, and children on Sunday, although it was sad to learn about your father. I am going to Barcelona April 23rd and will think of all of you and your important heritage. Love, Vicky Gardner
March 23, 2010
Dr. Comas was my late husband's doctor and I will never forget his wonderful sense of humor and caring attitude. He will be missed
Teri Taylor-Huskey
March 23, 2010
We will be adding more photos and content here voer the next few days. Please check back in.

Jordi Comas
March 22, 2010
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