Frank Church Frank Church was raised in Boise. In his youth Church admired William E. Borah, who then represented Idaho in the United States Senate. Church graduated from Boise High School in 1942, where he served as student body president. As a junior in 1941, he won the American Legion National Oratorical Contest. The prize was sufficient to provide for four years at the college of the winner's choice. Church chose Stanford University, enrolling in 1942.
In 1943, Church enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a military intelligence officer in the China-Burma-India theater. Following his discharge in 1946, he returned to Stanford to complete his education, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1947.
Also in 1947, he married Bethine Clark, daughter of Chase A. Clark, a former Democratic governor of Idaho, and entered Harvard Law School. After one year at Harvard Church transferred to Stanford Law School, when he thought the cold Massachusetts winter was the cause of a pain in his lower back. The pain did not go away and the doctors soon diagnosed the problem as cancer. After removing glands in his lower abdomen, he was given only a few months to live. However, he rebounded from the illness after another doctor started X-ray treatments. This second chance led him to later reflect that "life itself is such a chancy proposition that the only way to live is by taking great chances." In 1950, Church graduated from Stanford Law School and returned to Boise to practice law.
Frank and Bethine had two sons, Frank Forrester Church IV, now of New York City, and Chase Clark Church, now of Boise.