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John Kent Frazier

Born: Mon., Nov. 9, 1931
Died: Fri., Oct. 8, 2021

Memorial Service At A Later Date

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  John Kent Frazier passed away peacefully on Friday, October 8, 2021 in his home at Southfield Village, just one month before his 90th birthday. He was born November 9, 1931, in Kennard, Indiana, to the late Jesse Melvin Frazier and Agnes Florence (Collier) Frazier. His younger sister, Sandra Summerall, lives in Kennesaw, Georgia. His older sister Mary Lou Binkley (Richard) has passed away. Her three children, Alyce Hegedus, Cynthia Clement (Tim) and Richard Binkley (Colleen) all live in Georgia. Jack’s brother Gene C Frazier (Marilyn) has also passed away. Gene’s daughter Diane Robinson (Bob) lives in Mokena, Illinois, and his son Scott Frazier (Patti) lives in Aliso Viejo, California.

  Jack, as he was known to his family, married Joyce Hamilton in 1952. Their daughter Debora Jean Frazier lives in Bloomington, Indiana. Their son Michael Kent Frazier lives with his partner, Benjamin Lee, in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. Mark Allen Frazier, their third child, was born in 1956 and passed away suddenly in October, 2012 after a very eventful life. His wife, Jaime (Antonucci) Frazier and their daughter Melissa Winefeldt (Jesse) live in Colorado with Jack’s great-grandson Jake; their sons Mark Joseph Frazier and Michael John Frazier live in the Saint Louis, Missouri, area.

  Jack married June Klopfenstein Good in 1970; she passed away in 1992. His stepdaughters are Sherry Kurzhal (Jerry) of South Bend and Lois Albright (Allen) of North Liberty. Sherry’s son Derick Good lives in Las Vegas, Nevada; Lois’s son Matthew Wiggins (Tracey) lives in Plainfield, Indiana, with their son Matthew.

  On September 24, 1994, Jack was married for the third time to the organist at his church—First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in South Bend. Patricia (Pat) Harrer had also been married, divorced, remarried and widowed. This year they celebrated 27 years together, having enjoyed traveling throughout the US, to Scotland and to Nicaragua for a Habitat for Humanity build. Pat’s children--Scott Baxter (Libby Francis) of Baltimore, Maryland; Bonnie Baxter (Sally Norton) of Rochester, New York; David Baxter (Hyunju) of Austin, Texas; and Mary Miratrix (Luke) of Somerville, Massachusetts--forged strong friendships with their stepfather.

  Jack graduated from New Castle High School (Indiana) in 1949. Following a time of working as a draftsman and then spending three months touring Europe by bicycle, he enrolled at Ball State Teachers College. The newly opened industrial arts facility enticed him into the teaching profession. He moved to South Bend with his young family in 1955, beginning 37 years as a “shop” teacher—in Clay Township at the high school and then the middle school, at Greene Township while it included grades K through 8, and finally at Navarre Middle School.

  When he was not in the classroom, Jack was busy doing his own woodworking projects. These ranged from additions to his homes to many pieces of furniture and then to musical instruments. Between the late 1960’s and 2015, he built 349 Appalachian dulcimers which have found homes throughout the United States and beyond. He also made three different sizes of harps and several banjos. He and June were regular exhibitors at Amish Acres, Stones Trace and other festivals in the area. Jack was particularly drawn to the craftsmanship of the Shakers, a religious group that focused on simple but beautiful designs like the storage boxes that came in all sizes. When he and Pat moved to a villa at Southfield in 2012, he set up a workshop in the basement and continued his craft during his 80’s.

  Since he had ancestral ties to Scotland through both his parents, Jack was excited to discover the Clan Fraser Society in 1978. He eventually became its Midwest Commissioner, traveling to Highland Games throughout several states to set up a display and share information about his heritage. He made five trips to Scotland, the first in 1950 and the last in 2001, including attending the Fraser Gathering in 1997 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the first Fraser to arrive in the Isles.

  Throughout his life, Jack's love for the ballads and fiddle tunes of Appalachia as well as the Airs and bagpipe standards he performed with the Heather and Thistle Pipe Band (marching miles in summer heat in his woolly plaid) informed and inspired his craft. He shared tales of his many adventures and his wee dram of a Sunday evening with old friends and new acquaintances. Story after story, song after song passed on to his children formed a strong bond. The turn of a wood lathe, the drone of a bag pipe or twang of a banjo string were an ever-present accompaniment to his living.   

  Jack was Life Member of the Greene Township Lions Club, where he served three terms as president. He wholeheartedly joined in the club’s support of Camp Millhouse, contributing many handmade items to its annual fundraising auction. He was a member of Kern Road Mennonite Church, making deep friendships as well as many items for use at the church.

  The family is deeply grateful for the support of Center for Hospice Care during this past year. Jack’s caregivers became his special friends.

  A celebration of Jack’s life will be held at Kern Road Mennonite Church at a future date. Donations in his memory may be directed to the church, 18211 Kern Road, South Bend, IN, to Camp Millhouse, 25600 Kelly Road, South Bend, IN 46614 or to the Center for Hospice Care, 501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka, IN 46545.

  Hanley and Sons Funeral Home handled arrangements and extends its deepest sympathy and heartfelt prayers to the family and friends of Jack Frazier.

  Condolences may be expressed at: www.hanleyandsonsfuneralhomes.com

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Darnell Bailey
   Posted Thu October 14, 2021
What an interesting obituary! I taught with John for his last 10 years at Navarre and gave him a ride to school once in a while as I drove in from North Liberty. He was an interesting man and a dedicated teacher. We held a shared interest in computers as they found their way into our classrooms in the 80s. I caught the news recently when John was on with a former student that he'd taken the trouble to find in the Indianapolis area and return to him an Industrial Arts project. I'm sorry for your loss.

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