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Daniel Stewart Fraser

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Daniel Stewart Fraser 1912-2009 NORWICH Surrounded by family, Daniel Stewart Fraser, 96, died Monday, October 26, 2009 at Brookside Nursing Home. He was born on November 2, 1912, the eldest child of John S. and Helen Thorburn Fraser at Deep Hope Farm on Upper Turnpike Road in Norwich. He graduated from Hanover High School in 1932 and was married in 1934 to Eliza "Bunny" Stevens. He was proud of many of his accomplishments in life, and most recently liked to remind listeners that he had lived on Turnpike Road longer than anyone currently residing there. Patriarch of his family, Dan is survived by his five children, Betty F. White of Bennington, Howard D. "Jack" Fraser and wife, Jean, of Norwich, Richard S. "Dick" Fraser and wife, Cynthia, of South Ryegate, George D. Fraser and wife, Susie, of Norwich, and Jane F. Britton and husband, Glenn, of Norwich. He is also survived by his 21 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, including Davina Dana of Etna, N.H. He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years,"Bunny"; his sister, Jane F. Lewis; and two brothers, John Stewart "Stew" Fraser Jr., and Andrew Duncan "Dunc" Fraser. Although Dan began his life at Deep Hope Farm on Upper Turnpike Road, the family moved closer to town before Dan was 10. The new home, Gartcraig, was still on Turnpike Road but only a mile from the center of town. His third, and final, move was just a little further down Turnpike Road at the corner of Turnpike and Moore Lane. Dan's first love was the farm; he always liked working with the animals and being outside. School was a necessary part of his life, but most definitely not a favorite part. He played football at Hanover High School and once told the story of how he felt his hip problems began after a "fall" in the boys bathroom there (although there were other young men involved, the story becomes a bit unclear as to how the situation all evolved..) For his first job away from the farm at age 16, Dan was paid $3.50 for nine hours work rebuilding the bridge washed out by the flood of 1927 just below his father's house on Turnpike Road. He worked as a brick mason, as his father, for part of a year in 1932. He then worked as a clerk and delivery person for Merrill's General Store from 1933 until 1955. When Leon Merrill chose to retire, Dan, along with William Whitney 'Whit' Hicks, bought the store which they renamed 'Dan & Whit's General Store'. Whit retired in the early 1970's and Dan retired in 1993 after 60 years at the helm with Bunny at his side. He left the business in the capable hands of his sons, George and Jack Fraser, content that 'Dan & Whit's' would remain a family business. Dan served his community over the years with the additional town duties of volunteer fireman, fire warden, tree warden, tax collector, dog officer and several years as Constable. He also served in the Vermont Home Guard in Norwich during World War II. He was a lifetime member, as his parents before him, of Saint Barnabas Church in Norwich. Dan was a very strong willed, determined man with an incredible work ethic. He spent long hours, week after week, year after year, with his wife at his side, building 'Dan & Whit's' into the thriving concern it remains today. Business and family became almost one and the same as business grew, family grew and all pitched in. The continued support and dedication of many long term employees made a significant impact on the growth and success of Dan & Whit's as well as countless loyal customers. There was never a question in anyone's mind about who was in charge and how things were done. He was also blessed with a very dry sense of humor and an immense memory of stories and jokes. There were very few people you could mention, politicians in particular, where he didn't have a story to tell. Mention just about any lifelong resident's name in the Upper Valley and he could tell you a good deal of their history-where they built their home; lands owned; businesses run; spouses and their families; kids; grandkids. He was, by most accounts, a master at reminiscing. For the last several years, Dan has been a resident of Brookside Nursing Home in White River Junction. His family is most grateful to all the staff for kindness and excellent care he received while there. FUNERAL NOTICE: Calling hours will be Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at RAND-WILSON FUNERAL HOME in Hanover, N.H. A graveside committal service will be held on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 at 1 p.m. at Hillside Cemetery in Norwich, Vt. A memorial service will follow at 2 p.m. at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Main Street in Norwich with the Rev. Elizabeth Hilgartner officiating. A reception at the Norwich Inn, hosted by his children, will follow the service. Contributions in his memory may be made to the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 306, Norwich, VT 05055. Rand-Wilson Funeral Home of Hanover, N.H. is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Bennington Banner on Oct. 29, 2009
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