William Sidney Fraser, III: 1934-2012
William Sidney Fraser, III, was born June 9, 1934 and departed this earth Dec. 5, 2012, in pursuit of his lifelong love, his wife Katie, whom preceded him in death just seven months ago. Bill was in his home on the Fraser Family Ranch at Reed Point, MT, when he died.
For nearly 60 years, it was Bill and Katie, then Mom and Dad, then Grampa and Gramma. One was rarely without the other and Katie’s absence was unbearable.
Bill was state Jaycee President and a delegate to national conventions in Atlanta and Las Vegas. He was active in the Hereford Association and he and Mom loved their Hereford cows and were very successful breeders. The two were devout Democrats and Yankee fans.
But, above all, he was a father, a grandfather and a husband. Nothing was more important to him than his family. He was the colonel of his own little Army. He led us into battle to gather cows, mounted on the best horses he could afford. We rode seven abreast and he would announce “Aroar Har” and we would spur our horses into action.
He was the captain of our inner tubes as we floated down the Yellowstone River. He was the pilot of the pickup and trailer hauling all the horses to the Pederson Arena to team rope and barrel race against the neighbors. He was our guide on fishing trips up Bridger Creek with the “banny rooster” Duffey clan.
He was the judge that kept us halter breaking our 4-H and FFA cattle and exercising them every morning. During the county fair, he would awaken us with overly enthusiastic commands, “4-Hers, 4-Hers, it’s time to get up. There’s daylight on the swamp!” We were always the first to arrive to the barns, we even woke the chickens!
He loved morning. Mom didn’t. He would be in the kitchen happily singing “Mockingbird Hill” while he fashioned huge pancakes for each child. A horse, a sheep, if he couldn’t come up with a symbol, the child’s name became a pancake.
He was the foreman and head mechanic of the haying crew. He expected us to be out early and work hard, but we were greatly rewarded. We all eagerly watched the road in midafternoon for his pickup to stop the swather, the baler, the buckrake, the rake and the stacking crew. He woud load all five children to take a dip in the river. He spent a good portion of his days repairing broken equipment, fueling tractors and redirecting the crew.
He was tough with his discipline but he was soft. Majority generally ruled and there were five of us that could vote him into almost anything. If we wanted something bad enough and worked as hard as we could to achieve it, he would do whatever was humanly possible to help us reach our goals. It didn’t always happen, but we knew he gave it his best shot.
He was an innovative creator. He built gorgeous furnishings for our homes from wood and steel. He was a wishful gold miner. Hundreds of little trails led to failed “digs” from which he extracted worthless rock, melted down in front of his eager family while he fueled our imaginations with old mining stories. Several family trips involved panning for gold on old abandoned mining claims.
Every family trip was a history lesson. He had a passion for books, especially Louis Lamour and old history books. He was an extremely discriminate reader and would quit a book midstream if he discovered an historical error. He absorbed the history and related it to us as we traveled.
Mom and Dad loved to travel the southwest and the Four Corners were a favorite. They loved to experience the culture of the areas they toured and we were constantly stopping at roadside signs and visiting local museums. Yellowstone Park was a family favorite. Rarely a year went by without at least one trip through the park.
He had an enthusiasm for adventure that always involved his family. His greatest fault was that he loved too deeply. He died of a broken heart when he lost Mom. He is at peace now, and we must be too. He has rejoined her and the new adventures shall begin.
Bill leaves behind his children: son Scott, (Maggie) and Sam; son Rob, (Cindy) and Kelsey; daughter Cyd, (Stu Hoefle) and children Mitch (Libby), Lindsey and Melanie; daughter Carolyn (John Deeney) and daughter Martha, (Dale Sargent) and children Wes (Lydia) and Kayla. Two sisters, Marilyn Iversen and Jan Kocsis, and sister in law, Jean (Jim) LeBar. We survive knowing that we were deeply loved by both of our parents.
Condolences may be sent to the Fraser Family at Reed Point. Memorials can be made to Riverstone Health Hospice/Stillwater Team at 123 S. 27th Street, Billings, MT 59101 or the charity of your choice.