F. Clarke FRASER
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FRASER, F. Clarke
March 29, 1920 - December 17, 2014
Dr. F. Clarke Fraser, PhD, MD, DSc (Acadia), DSc (N.Y. at Potsdam), DSc (McGill), LLD (Dalhousie), Officer of the Order of Canada, Prix du Québec recipient and Canadian Medical Hall of Fame laureate, died peacefully in Digby Nova Scotia on December 17, 2014. Born in the USA to Annie Louise (Clarke) Fraser ("Nan") and Frank Wise Fraser, Clarke grew up in Jamaica but had deep family roots in Nova Scotia. He earned his BSc at Acadia (1940) and his MSc, PhD and MD (1950) at McGill. In 1950, he became Canada's first medical geneticist when he founded the Division of Medical Genetics at the now Montreal Children's Hospital. From 1950 - 1982 he was Director of the Department of Medical Genetics at the Children's Hospital and Professor of Human Genetics at McGill. Following, he was Professor of Clinical Genetics at Memorial University, then in 1985, Professor Emeritus at McGill. In 1999, he moved with his wife Dr. Marilyn Preus to his family home in Bear River, Nova Scotia. A beloved teacher and brilliant researcher, Clarke Fraser was a pioneer in medical genetics, teratology and genetic counselling. He co-authored two textbooks on human and medical genetics and authored a book on the genetics of common familial disorders. He was President of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Teratology Society, and the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists; and headed the working group on genetics and prenatal diagnosis of the Canadian Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1985, awarded the Prix du Québec in 1999, received four honorary degrees, and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2012. Clarke is survived by his former wife Beryl (DeBlois) Fraser; his wife Marilyn Preus; children Norah, Noel (Patricia), Alan, and Scott (Tasha); and grandchildren Trevor, Emmett, Megan, Gillian, Masha, Alexander, and Ogden. He was a quiet man with a gentle sense of humour who loved music, athletics, his family, and a scotch before dinner. He played rugger until the age of 40, and tennis until 81. Clarke frequently said how lucky he was, in both his career and his marriage to Marilyn, his beloved wife of 41 years. He was genuinely interested in other people and intensely curious about the natural world. He is deeply loved and will be greatly missed by his extended family, his many colleagues and former students in genetics and teratology, and numerous friends and neighbours. "He tried to be good."

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Published in Monteal Gazette on Dec. 27, 2014.
Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
January 20, 2015
I was very lucky to have had Dr Fraser as my professor and mentor in the genetic counselling program at the Montreal Children's Hospital in the early 90's. He was a great teacher and a kind human being, and I'll never forget him. He brought much humanity, wit and wisdom to the classroom and to the clinic. On one particularly memorable occasion, he accompanied himself with his ukulele as he sang to a class of surprised first year students a multi verse song on genetic counseling that he'd written. I'm so grateful for all that he taught me and many others, not only about genetic counseling, but also about life. Undoubtedly, he'll be warmly remembered and missed by many. I offer my heartfelt condolences to all his family and friends.
Beverley Ann Lee
January 2, 2015
I have the finest memories of Dr. Fraser as a pioneer and gentle man. I first met him as an undergraduate student in genetics and psychology at McGill where he taught Human Genetics. He was warm and inclusive, even showing us a slide of his feet to explain a particular pattern of inheritance. Later as a graduate student and a medical cytogeneticist, I was always treated as a colleague and friend. He will be missed by many students, colleagues and friends. My sincere sympathies to the family for their loss.
Darrell Tomkins
January 2, 2015
I am greatly saddened to hear of Clarke's passing. He was a great person, doctor and scientist. He was amazingly supportive to me as a new immigrant to Canada and a newcomer in the CCMG. I will remember him very fondly.
Stan R Blecher
December 31, 2014
I am deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Fraser's death. He was a great man and a phenomenal physician. His legacy lives on in the generations of geneticists and genetic counsellors he mentored in the course of his remarkable career. I wish his family peace and love at this difficult time.
Diane Allingham-Hawkins
December 31, 2014
It was his series of lectures in my first year at McGill (Core Biology) that first led me to a lifelong passion and career in Human Genetics. He truly inspired me as I am sure he inspired so many. His was a life well lived.
Marsha Speevak
December 30, 2014
I have only known a few great men in my life. Dr. Fraser was indeed one of them. Such fond memories of his laughs and his visits to Dr. Trasler's lab.
louise pothier
December 28, 2014
We met Dr. Clarke Fraser as our daughter, Karen's genetist at the Montreal Children's Hospital in 1963. He was always kind, caring and respectful to all of us. He was a fine, knowledgeable doctor and a great human being.
Allan, Gail & Karen Turner
December 28, 2014
Clarke was a tremendous physician and scientist - and an equally wonderful human being. His legacy remains with us in the spirit of curiosity and wisdom that he imparted to the many students he mentored.
Gail Graham
December 27, 2014
Clarke was a great boss, a dear friend and a wonderful human. I will miss his wit, sensitivity and kindness.
Fran Langton
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