Born on September 4, 1955, in Lawrence, Kansas, Frank B. Cross demonstrated his genius early, by winning the 1976 National Debate Tournament with his colleague Robin Rowland and was the best second negative of his era.
Frank graduated from the University of Kansas in 1977 and from Harvard Law School in 1980. He then practiced law with Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, DC for four years. In 1984, he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin as a professor of business law at what would become the McCombs School of Business. Frank was a productive scholar who was later given joint appointments at the UT School of Law and the UT Government Department. He was named the Herbert D. Kelleher Centennial Professor of Business Law. He was president of his national professional association, the Academy of Legal Studies in Business.
Frank published eight academic books, innumerable editions of various textbooks, eight book chapters, and 103 major law review articles. Frank was the most prolific scholar in the history of the business law discipline.
Frank Cross was a gifted classroom teacher. He was articulate, lucid, and funny. As his close friend and former debate partner, Robin Rowland, pointed out: "He was always the brightest person in any room he occupied, but wore that gift with grace and wit." He inspired thousands of students before retiring in 2015.
Frank loved good food, expensive drink, and the occasional cigar. Like all graduates of the University of Kansas, he lived for Jayhawk basketball.
Frank bravely battled adrenomyeloneuropathy (adult adrenoleukodystrophy) his entire adult life. This cruel disease slowly robbed Frank of his ability to move, but never took away his love of life or sense of humor. AMN ultimately defeated Frank, but it did not define him.
Frank was predeceased by his father, Frank Cross, a professor of systematics and ecology at the University of Kansas from 1951 to 1991 and curator for the Natural History Museum at KU; and by his mother, Marie Z. Cross, a professor of nutrition at KU from 1949 to 1990.
Frank is survived by and beloved by his sisters, Betty Cross of St. Louis, MO and Julie Cross Hoko of Madison, CT, their spouses (Kit Klein and Jim Hoko), his nieces and nephew (Kendra, Jemma, and Jeremy), and by his extended family. Frank also leaves behind his dear friend, Linda Fay, his dog Papi, and a care team whose members were dedicated to him.
Frank died on April 27, 2019, at his home in Austin under the care of Hospice Austin.
Survivors suggest memorials to the United Leukodystrophy Foundation, 224 North Second Street, Suite 2, Dekalb, IL 60115.
Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Jun. 2, 2019.