Francis J. Duane grew up in the bustling metropolitan of Bronx, New York. He went on to graduate from the State University of New York in 1944 with a degree in landscape architecture, with a starting position at the New Hampshire Department of Forestry and Recreation. Just a year later, he joined Robert Trent Jones and became his chief assistant, working with the leading architect in golf for almost 20 years. Duane decided to launch a solo practice in 1963, but two years later would be stricken with health issues.
As ASGCA Executive Secretary Emeritus Paul Fullmer writes in Presidents I Have Known, “Frank Duane’s life was a ‘Profile in Courage.’ One of the brightest young architects in the country, Duane worked extensively with both Robert Trent Jones and Arnold Palmer, but in 1965 he was bitten by an insect and was stricken with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a debilitating disease that soon confined him to a wheelchair. Somehow, despite traveling alone, he still made the long, arduous trip from New York in 1973-74 to the Big Sky project in Montana, with a difficult transfer from Minneapolis. The big, burly guy was all guts and you had to love him. He worked before the term ‘project architect’ was coined by media to identify the architect of record’s associate who was the lead person on the project. Obviously, he did many high-profile jobs with both Jones and Palmer that added much luster to his career.”
Duane continued his solo practice, but would eventually decide to join Arnold Palmer’s for three years in the early 1970s. Due to debilitating disease, he could no longer travel to sites anymore, so was left doing small jobs at his home in Port Washington, New York.
Frank was elected into ASGCA as a member in 1964 and as ASGCA President in 1972. He was elected as a Fellow of the organization in 1991, and served as a member of the Society for 30 years until his death in 1994.