Frank Adler, 60, engineer, computer expert

Posted: March 19, 2014

Frank Adler, 60, of Cherry Hill, a devoted husband and father with a love for computers, died at his home Sunday, March 16, after a five-month battle with lung cancer.

"He fought a graceful, dignified battle against lung cancer," his wife, Betty, said Monday. "He had excruciating pain the last five months."

Betty Adler, a health lawyer for the University of Pennsylvania/Penn Medicine and president of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, said she and her husband knew each other from childhood. Her brother Alvin Stern was friends with Mr. Adler, and all three were in the same Hebrew school car pool and synagogue.

It wasn't until Betty was 21 and her mother died that the two began dating.

"He came for my brother, to pay respects to my mother," Betty Adler said. "But there was this 21-year-old girl that caught his eye, and he pretended he was more religious than he was and kept coming back all week. On the last morning, he asked me out."

They dated for three months before getting engaged, and married a year later, three weeks before Betty Adler started law school at Temple University.

Mr. Adler, 41/2 years older than her, then was an engineer at Radio Corp. of America, which morphed into GE and Lockheed Martin from 1985 to 1997.

"I was drawn to that blue-eyed, dark-haired handsome guy that had that twinkle in his eye," she said.

On her Facebook page a few weeks ago, when Mr. Adler came home to be in hospice care, she wrote: "I cherish the past 34 years we've had together, walking side-by-side on life's journey, and I will cherish every minute that we have left together."

The couple often vacationed in Acadia National Park in Maine, where they hiked the mountains holding hands, she said. They did the same through their Cherry Hill neighborhood, wearing reflective vests and holding flashlights after 8:30 at night, at least a few times a week before Mr. Adler was diagnosed with cancer. "It was just as much as exercise as bonding time," she said.

She said it was during these walks that her husband would check on her schedule with the federation so they could find time to walk together. Most of the meetings were at night.

"Frank was always supportive of me, both as a lawyer and president of the federation, and he understood what an honor it is for me to give back to the community," she said.

Mr. Adler's son, Lawrence, said that as supportive as his father was of his mother's career, he was incredibly supportive of him as well.

He said he would ask for text-message photos of key events in his son's life, such as moving to Washington for college and to New York for law school.

"He took a picture of every haircut ever I got," said Lawrence Adler, an attorney in Manhattan. "The smallest thing lit him up. He had a silly and fun nature."

For the last few months, he came home on Fridays, (working the phone at his parents' home), and stayed through the weekends to spend more time with his father.

"I'm devastated, but happy and sad he is at peace," he said. "I learned from my father how to be a good husband. He got up a half-hour early to make coffee for my mother. Now I get up earlier than my wife and make her coffee."

He said he held his father's hand as he took his last breath.

"So much was taken from him the last five months, with so many doctor appointments," he said. "He made his peace and . . . called a rabbi for a blessing on Thursday."

Mr. Adler got his bachelor of arts degree from Temple in 1975, and a master's in computer science and engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1987. In 1998, he went to work for Kennedy Health System in Cherry Hill, where he remained until his death. His last position was PC support manager.

"He loved working with computers, and he really was a problem-solver," Betty Adler said. "Early on, he was building computers as a hobby and enjoying working with them, and decided that's what he really wanted to do. That was his passion.

"The computers were a tool for him. Our house was fully wired."

She said her husband faded in and out of consciousness Sunday. "We were fortunate he rallied for a few hours, and he opened his eyes and was able to say, 'I love you,' and call us by our names."

She said her husband's other passion was watching Philadelphia sports teams.

His favorite movie was Castaway. "He watched it multiple times," Betty Adler said.

"Frank was a private guy," she said "He did not let everybody into his private thoughts. Only a select few went into that circle, but once you're in, you were totally in."

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Adler is survived by a sister.

A services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill. Interment will follow at Crescent Memorial Park, Pennsauken. Shivah will be observed at the residence through Sunday evening.

Contributions may be made to the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey at

856-779-3928 @SuzParmley

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