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Obituaries

December 7, 2013

Franklyn H. Rollins

(Continued)

It was when he moved to Cobleskill to teach that his passion for photography truly flowered. Cliff Van Dervort, a professional photographer in Cobleskill, took Frank under his wing and taught him the trade. 

Although he saw his photography skills flourish in Cobleskill, Frank grew tired of teaching there, and applied for the vocal teacher position at Cooperstown. After a successful interview with then-principal Nicholas J. Sterling Sr., he began teaching in Cooperstown in the fall of 1957. He first lived in a rented apartment on Pine Boulevard but soon after purchased his first, and only, house on Linden Avenue. 

When the move was made to a new school building in February of 1969, the auditorium was opened with a production of "Oklahoma!" with Frank conducting the pit orchestra. He went on to conduct for five more musicals including "Guys and Dolls" and "South Pacific."

For a time he photographed the dress rehearsals for school musicals as well as productions staged by the fledgling Glimmerglass Opera Theatre.  Several of the singers Frank taught or photographed throughout those years went on to professional careers in music.

Even after retirement Frank stayed connected to the school through his business, Rollins Photos — which boasted a motto he borrowed from his mentor, Cliff Van Dervort: "a complete photographic service" — taking almost all the photos for the sports teams and a number of senior-year pictures for graduates. 

In addition to providing his photography skills to the school, he photographed the classes of the AT&T Data Communications training program held at the Otesaga Hotel in the 1960s.  He held this job for nine years until AT&T closed the school in 1969. 

For more than 25 years, Frank also photographed the Candy Stripers at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and was the official photographer to the Cooperstown Art Association and former Gallery 53 Artworks.

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