With the death of Frank Lautenberg, the Senate not only lost its last World War II vet, but also its last man named Frank.
It’s a generational thing: What once was a common moniker has dropped in popularity over the last century as parents have moved on to Jacob (the top boy’s name in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration data base), Ethan and Noah. According to SSA records, Frank was among the Top Ten male names until 1920 but has been in decline ever since: #16 in the 1930s, #35 in the 1950s, #65 in the 1970s, and #147 in the 1990s. It couldn’t crack the Top 200 in the 2000s; last year the name was ranked #319. Even the enduring coolness of Frank Sinatra hasn’t translated to a new crop of little Franks.
This ends a 64-year streak of Senate Franks that ran virtually uninterrupted since 1949: Frank Graham served 1949-1950; Frank Carlson, 1950-1969; Frank Barrett, 1953-1959; Frank Lausche, 1957-1969, Frank Church 1957 -1981, Frank Moss, 1959-1977, and Frank Murkowski — whose 1981-2002 tenure just about covered that brief two-year window when Lautenberg left the Senate before returning in 2003.
But all is not lost. The House still has four: Frank LoBiondo and Frank Pallone from New Jersey; Frank Lucas from Oklahoma, and Frank Wolf from Virginia.