Guy Ladd Frost, an architect, preservationist and motorsports enthusiast who dedicated a quarter century to helping save and restore historic Roslyn buildings, died on March 14 at the age of 85.
Frost had Lewy body dementia since 2012 and died at the Sands Point Center for Health and Rehabilitation in Port Washington. He had been living in the facility for the past year after suffering a stroke.
Frost moved to Roslyn in 1965 with his wife, Donna. They became good friends with Dr. Roger Gerry, a preservationist, oral surgeon and Navy captain. Frost and Gerry teamed up for the next 25 years to restore structures in Roslyn, including some of the most well-known buildings in town. His architectural drawings and papers are now in the village’s Bryant Library.
“Basically, Roger Gerry met my dad and said to him, ‘you’re going to be my prodigy and we will restore this whole village,'” said daughter Jessica Frost.
During these years, Frost helped to restore over 50 structures in Roslyn’s Historic District. Perhaps the most iconic of his restorations is the Ellen E. Ward Clock Tower, which sits at the intersection of Roslyn Road and Old Northern Boulevard. Built in 1895, it is not the oldest building in Roslyn but is certainly the most well-known.
In 2015, Frost was honored by the Village of Roslyn with a plaque for his aesthetic contributions to the historic district. In addition to the clock tower, Frost had an architectural firm which provided layouts for the Warren Wilky House, the Zwerdling residence, the Willis Avenue Brick Firehouse and more.
The plaque also served to commemorate Frost’s work on designing the homes on Valentine Lane.
Born Jan. 17, 1934, in Brooklyn to Rose and Stanley Frost, Guy Frost was a world traveler since birth. His father was a traveling salesman, and Frost lived in New Zealand and Australia in his early years. Frost took a boat from Australia to San Francisco in 1941 with his family, arriving in America on New Year’s Day. At the age of 16, he left home to travel the country, sending money home to his mother in North Dakota after his father’s death.
Frost later served as an aircraft controller in the U.S. Air Force in Japan and Montauk from 1954 to 1958. His time in Montauk resulted in his love for Long Island, which would last for the rest of his life.
Afterward, he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in architecture. Frost met Donna Dussault while at school, and they married on Memorial Day in 1959.
Without Frost, many iconic buildings around Roslyn and North Hempstead would not be here today. He was also a member of North Hempstead’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission and worked to restore structures there for many years.
“He was a champion of underdogs. He loved to take on a cause,” said Jessica Frost.
Howard Kroplick, president of the Roslyn Landmark Society, spent extensive time working with Frost as a fellow member of the commission. Kroplick praised Frost for his dedication to preserving history.
“He was a great historian, and really helped to preserve the landmarks,” said Kroplick. “He was overall a really good guy.”
Guy Frost did not just work toward preserving history in the form of buildings.
As a member of the Sports Car Club of America, motorsports enthusiast and a founder of the Bridgehampton Racing Heritage Group, Frost also spent a lot of effort keeping the memory of racing alive on Long Island. From 2004 to 2010, he organized centennial celebrations for the Vanderbilt Cup Races in Roslyn Harbor and Garden City.
“It was an honor for me to assist Guy on these celebrations and serve with him for six years on the commission,” said Kroplick.
This followed many years of trying to save the Bridgehampton Raceway, a well-known race track in Bridgehampton and one of Frost’s favorite places.
“He had a way of charming people into doing things that were a little out of the ordinary,” Jessica Frost said. “He used the power of sentiment to get things done.”
A devoted husband and father of three, Frost brought home the same mentality that he held at work.
“He was a very active, very adventurous man,” said Jessica Frost. “He brought a lot of that to the table for my mom. He encouraged and promoted her as much as he did his kids.”
In addition to his daughter Jessica, Guy Frost is survived by Donna, his wife of 59 years, his children Erica (Ronald) French and Christopher (Kimberle) Frost, and five grandchildren.
A celebration of Guy Frost’s life as well as a memorial service will be held at the William Cullen Bryant Library in Roslyn on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.