Frans L. Stassen of Freehold, NY and Cambridge, MA, passed away on April 11, 2021, at the age of 79 after a three-month struggle with pancreatic cancer. Born in Amby, the Netherlands in July, 1941. He learned the value of hard work and education growing up on a dairy farm as the oldest of 13 children. He met his wife Catharina (Toos) while serving as her waiter at a dance club. They were married for 54 years until she passed away only two weeks before his pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
He was a driven student who completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He did his post-doctoral fellowship at the Roche Institute in Nutley, New Jersey. He spent his career in pharmaceutical research. Frans served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Daiamed and prior to that as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of MyoGenics, Inc. Before joining the biotechnology industry, Frans was Vice President of Research in Inflammation/Osteoarthritis, Molecular Biology and Enzymology at Ciba-Geigy. He joined Ciba-Geigy from SmithKline in Philadelphia where he was Director of a cardiovascular drug discovery program. So many of his lifelong friends came from his student and professional days.
After retiring, his favorite times were gatherings of family and friends in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at their home in the Catskills. Frans will be remembered by friends as a joyous individual with a robust sense of humor that could light up a room and one who enjoyed holding forth lively conversations at the dinner table. His grandchildren will fondly remember playing games of Uno, Star Wars Monopoly and Thousands with their Opa as well as working outside with his tractor and building bonfires to roast marshmallows. His last words to his grandchildren were those of love and wishes for them to be good people and make the world a better place.
He is survived by his daughter, Veronique Bartman, grandsons John and James Bartman of Dublin, OH; his daughter Nicole Stassen-Wagner, son-in law, Aaron Wagner, and his grandchildren Nathan, Noah and Hannah Wagner, of Rochester, NY; his brothers (Jeff, Chris, Laur, Lou, Gabriel, Jacques, Bert), sisters (Marianne, Margriet and Godelieve) and their families in The Netherlands, Belgium, England, Australia and New Zealand; as well as countless friends around the world.
A memorial celebration of his life will be scheduled by the family at a later time when current pandemic-related travel restrictions are lifted and it is safe for people to gather again.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Frans’ memory to the Boston International Newcomers Academy, a school near and dear to his and his wife Catharina’s heart. (https://www.bincabps.org)