Remembering Robert W. Franz

August 10, 2016

ROBERTFRANZRobert W. (Bob) Franz, born in 1924, was a long-time supporter, leader and philanthropist at Providence – focusing much of his support on cancer research at Providence Cancer Center and to the Providence Portland Medical Foundation.

He grew up on a farm in Milwaukie, Ore., attended Columbia Prep School (a private high school that was located near the University of Portland), and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1948. He then spent 35 years as an executive in the banking business before retiring.

Bob was a board member of the Providence Portland Medical Foundation since 1986. For the past 30 years, he was especially passionate about supporting cancer research at Providence Cancer Center.

In 1997, Bob and his sister, Elsie Franz Finley, provided generous gifts to further the commitment to new scientific discoveries and treatments of cancer. Their support led to development of the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, which is part of the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Cancer Center. Walter J. Urba, M.D., Ph.D., was recruited in 1993 from the National Cancer Institute to lead cancer research at Providence, with an emphasis in the groundbreaking field of cancer immunotherapy.

Today, the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, a part of the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Cancer Center, has more than 100 researchers dedicated to discovering curative therapies for cancer patients and has become nationally and internationally renowned in the field of cancer immunotherapy research and treatment. Located within Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Ore., the main area of investigation is cancer immunotherapy, a specialized field of study focused on triggering the immune system to fight cancer.

“We mourn the passing of Bob Franz, our good friend and long-time supporter and champion of cancer research at Providence,” says Dr. Urba. “Both Bob and Elsie have been instrumental to the development of a world-class immunotherapy program at Providence Cancer Center. We are forever grateful to Bob for his many years of friendship and support.”

Known for his quiet leadership and enthusiasm for causes that are important to him, Bob was always a “perfect foundation board member,” says Carolyn Winter, senior philanthropic advisor at Providence Foundations in Oregon, who knew Bob for nearly 35 years. “He has introduced many of his friends to Providence Cancer Center, he supports every cancer center fundraising event, and he’s very enthusiastic about Dr. Urba and what he and his researchers are working to achieve.”

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Bob, please give here.