FALMOUTH – Thomas Bernard Fraser, Jr., 90, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 27, in the company of his family, at his home in East Falmouth.
Tom, or Tompa as he was known to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was born in Boston on June 9, 1929 to the late Annie Theresa Fraser and Thomas Bernard Fraser, Sr. Tom was the oldest of four, and graduated from Rindge Technical School in 1947.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1948, was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska and was discharged in 1952.
Tom married the love of his life, Irene Rita York, in 1953. The newlyweds moved to Hyannis where he worked as a linotype operator at the Barnstable Patriot and the Cape Cod Times.
Over the years, the family lived in West Yarmouth, then Winchester, and Tewksbury as he took jobs at the Record American, Boston Globe, Lowell Sun, Harvard University Press, Addison Wesley Publishing, Wolf Composition and the Malden Evening News.
He was a typographical union member for his entire career and served as a union shop steward.
Tom was a lover of history, historical writings, and books in general. Vacations were often spent taking day trips to lakes or the ocean, but almost as often to museums and historic sites.
Still, nothing rivaled the sheer joy of ice skating and hockey. He played for Rindge Tech, the U.S. Army team in Alaska, and for the University of Alaska, and for the Barnstable Hockey Club in the 1950’s. He coached youth hockey in Tewksbury, and coached for many years in the Cape Cod Women’s Hockey League. He loved the open ice of a newly frozen pond, believed in the headman pass and executed a well-timed sweep check.
Tom and Irene were rarely apart in 66 years of marriage. Following his retirement, they finally had time to be alone together and traveled the country in their RV. They moved permanently to Falmouth in 1999.
Tom worked hard to support 7 children, but always made time to play with them. He took them to church, laced up their skates, taught them to swim, body surf, and how to enjoy life. He was always organizing pickup games of football, basketball or hockey and found a way to make everyone look good with a perfect pass, or by stretching the strike count.
Tom was kind, selfless, generous to all. There was no greater reward than to make him laugh. But he also had a wry sense of humor that stayed with him to his final days.
Besides his wife Irene, Tom is survived by his sister Margaret Bowles of Holliston; and by his six children: Brian Fraser and his wife Barb of Salem, NH; Thomas B. Fraser III and his wife Deborah of Salem, NH; Neal Fraser and his wife Karen of Methuen; MaryAnne Kulis and her husband William of Falmouth; Linda Fraser Patterson of Falmouth; and Douglas Fraser and his wife Heather Heidepriem of Orleans, 16 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. He was predeceased by a son, Robert Fraser of Tewksbury and by his sisters; Brenda Rigney of Bellingham; and Frances Caminiti of King of Prussia, PA.
The Fraser family would like to acknowledge and thank the many special caregivers, especially Melissa Melvoen, who took care of Tom over the past year.
Visiting hours are 3 pm to 7 pm Thursday, Dec. 5, at Chapman Cole & Gleason 475 Main St., Falmouth, MA. A Funeral Mass will begin at 9 am Friday at St. Anthony’s Church 167 East Falmouth Highway, Falmouth, MA. Burial to follow at 10:45 am in Massachusetts National Cemetery, Connery Ave., Bourne, MA.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the VNA of Cape Cod Hospice 255 independence Drive Hyannis, MA. 02601 or the Barry F. Dunlevy Foundation 70 John Street Tewksbury, MA. 01876