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Honoring the Legacy of Courage: Remembering Frank Gee

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Regretfully, I do not have a photo of Frank. However, I took this photo when Janice, one of my colleagues, and Frank, and I dined at Lokma, a local favorite on Clement Street on Nov 24, 2020. Both Frank and I had walked there because we lived so nearby. This photo captures the warmth we felt from being under the heat lamps, the delicious food we enjoyed, and the friendship we developed.

It has been two years since we lost Frank Gee, and his absence has been deeply felt at this time. Until now, I couldn’t find the words to talk about him. I needed this time to ease the tightness in my throat and alleviate the immense sorrow within me. Frank Gee was a resident of the Richmond District, and I had the privilege of serving as his realtor. For most of his life, he grappled with clinical depression, questioning whether the world would accept him for who he truly was. An immediate connection formed between us. Frank, a second-generation Asian American, was raised with strict cultural and religious principles. Meanwhile, I, a first-generation immigrant and survivor of domestic violence, understood the struggle of feeling rejected for one’s identity.

Frank found his way out of his darkness by engaging with his church community, where people recognized his uniqueness and value. In a similar vein, I emerged from my own struggles by attending university and graduate school, surrounded by open-minded individuals who embraced me for who I am.

At the age of 58, Frank finally reached a point of confidence where he believed that the world would accept him for who he truly was. He yearned to embrace life fully. He entrusted me, both his realtor and neighbor living just 1.5 blocks away, with the task of selling his family home on Anza Avenue, located at the intersection with 27th Ave in Central Richmond District. This charming home offered a delightful view of The Holy Virgin Cathedral. Frank’s aspirations included marriage, raising children in the suburbs, and embarking on new adventures.

My team and I diligently sorted through three generations’ worth of personal belongings, renovated his 1950s-era home while he was away on a road trip, and successfully sold the property, receiving competitive offers. Frank was in a great position for a fresh start.

Then, the news of Frank’s passing hit me with a wave of sadness. His body was discovered at sea, likely the result of a tragic accident. We may never know if his passing was related to the sale of his home, his personal health struggles, or a tragic accident. The uncertainty surrounding his death adds an additional layer of sorrow to his memory.

Frank may no longer be with us, but his legacy lives on. I will forever carry the image of his face lighting up as he spoke about the future and the evident joy he found in new experiences. If he were here today, he would share a few key messages:

  1. Dreams are worth pursuing, regardless of age.

  2. Refuse to accept the world’s judgment of not belonging; instead, embrace your place and work toward making the world more accepting and loving.

  3. Don’t face mental health struggles alone — reach out to a friend, neighbor, dog sitter, or realtor.

As the fortunate realtor with whom Frank shared his past mental health struggles, I can attest to the immense value I gained from his story, bravery, and courage. Frank remains an everlasting source of inspiration.

Rest in peace, Frank. We will remember you forever.

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