Services Being Planned for Legendary Optometrist, Frank Fontana, OD, ‘Uncle Frank’


Frank Fontana, OD, FAAO.

ST. LOUIS—Services are being planned for legendary optometrist, Frank Fontana, OD, FAAO, known affectionately as “Uncle Frank” to hundreds of ODs, colleagues and friends in the vision care field, professional and industry colleagues and friends. Dr. Fontana, 96, passed away yesterday. He and his son, Frankie Fontana, had recently greeted friends and colleagues in Las Vegas at last weekend’s Vision Expo West. Memorial services will be held soon. Dr. Fontana was a 1949 graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry. He was educated through the G.I. bill after serving in the U.S. Army for three years including 28 months of overseas duty in the European Theater of Operation.

Dr. Fontana started his practice, Fontana Eyecare Associates practice in 1950 and was viewed as a pioneer in fitting contact lenses. Dr. Fontana was a Diplomat of the American Academy of Optometry's Contact Lens and Anterior Section. As a specialist, he was nationally recognized for his involvement in Clinical Investigations, consulting, authoring and lecturing.

"Uncle Frank" Fontana, OD, addressed the audience upon accepting Review of Optometry's first annual Visionary Award.

He was honored and recognized for his contributions on many occasions. In 2014, Review of Optometry honored Dr. Fontana as the first recipient of the Review of Optometry Visionary Award. In July 2016, Review of Optometry published a lengthy, fascinating discussion and interview with Dr. Fontana, who discussed the profession he loved and recollections of his personal history.

In May 2016, Dr. Fontana was selected to take part in the World War II “Honor Flight” roundtrip from St. Louis to Washington D.C. According to his son, Dr. Fontana was among a limited number of veterans who took the trip. Rolando Lopez was the leader of the May 24 St. Louis World War II Honor Flight. The mission of the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight (GSLHF) is “to recognize our veterans—most urgently our World War II veterans—with a day of honor, remembrance and celebration. We do this with a one-day, all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial, built to honor their service and sacrifice.” Family and friends sent thank you notes for his service for the “Mail Call” that was part of the flight ceremony, as VMAIL reported at the time.

VMAIL will post further details about memorial services as they become available.