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Harvey Fraser, 97, S.D. educator ‘bigger than life,’ loved squash

A 1970 black white phoreleased by South DakotSchool Mines Technology is Harvey Fraser.  Former South DakotSchool Mines Technology president

A 1970 black and white photo released by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is of Harvey Fraser. Former South Dakota School of Mines and Technology president Fraser died Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 at the age of 97. (AP Photo/South Dakota School of Mines and Technology)

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Updated: December 18, 2013 6:16AM

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Former South Dakota School of Mines and Technology president Harvey Fraser is being remembered for everything from his frequent cussing to his addiction to the sport of squash.

Mr. Fraser died Sunday at the age of 97, the Rapid City school said in a statement.

Mr. Fraser, an Illinois native who served in the Army and taught history at West Point for 26 years, became the School of Mines’ first dean of engineering in July 1965. He was named president the next year and served until 1975.

“Harvey Fraser was devoted to the School of Mines and served it well,” current Mines President Heather Wilson said in a statement. “In my few months here I’ve heard several stories from alumni and faculty about him; all were told with laughter and affection. He will be missed by colleagues, friends and former students.”

Joan Fraser Yeash, one of Mr. Fraser’s three children, told the Rapid City Journal that her father was “honestly bigger than life.”

“He was just very ‘old time Army,’” she said. “If you ever saw the movie ‘Patton,’ every other word out of his mouth was a little off-color.”

Mr. Fraser became known as the “bricks and mortar” president after overseeing nearly $8 million of construction on the school’s campus. He also oversaw reconstruction of several buildings damaged during flooding in 1973. That flurry of construction included the school’s first squash court — one of Mr. Fraser’s great passions.

“I don’t remember him ever not playing squash,” said Fraser Yeash, adding that her father was often bloody after particularly intense games.

Mr. Fraser also was known for being a stickler for tidiness. He would arrive at the school’s campus early in the morning and pick up trash.

Mr. Fraser left the school in 1975, believing he had accomplished as much as he could in his 9-year tenure, according to the Journal. He worked as a dean at higher education institutions in Oregon and California before retiring in 1984.


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