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Farragut school principal dies

Dr. Robert W. “Bob” Frazier stood out as a “motivator,” “people person” and a “wonderful human being” — among the qualities attributed to him as a Knox County educator.

That’s how colleagues described the longtime Farragut Intermediate School principal only a few hours after his sudden death Tuesday morning, April 11.

Finishing his 33rd year as FIS principal this spring while serving more than 40 years as an educator in Tennessee and Alabama, Frazier died at his home. He was 62.

“He was the nicest man and had the welfare of over a thousand students in mind this year, that was what he was always interested in,” said Kay Wellons, FIS assistant principal, adding that he has impacted thousands of students during his career. “He was so interested in not only the academic instruction, but was interested in the social and emotional development. He was just a wonderful administrator and leader.

“He had told me not long ago that when he was young, he was very interested and thought he might become a school counselor,” she added. “Even though he might not have had the title of ‘counselor,’ he used that strength with the people he worked with.

“Another assistant principal [under Dr. Frazier], Brenda Gray, said he was the best listener in the word.”

Bob Henry, a physical education teacher at Farragut Middle School, worked alongside Dr. Frazier, who was assistant principal for two years during the late 1960s at Farragut Elementary School.

“I know Dr. Frazier did a fantastic job. Everything he took on got done. And those who worked for him and with him just took to him because he was a motivator, a real people person. It was very comfortable to talk with him,” Henry said. “I never heard anyone say anything about Dr. Frazier that wasn’t completely positive.

“Dr. Frazier was a runner, he always kept in good physical shape, and we talked about how he had lost weight by exercising,” Henry added. “So all this came as a shock when I heard about his death today from one of our school secretaries.”

Frazier is survived by his wife, Ruth Ann, four children and seven grandchildren.

Julia Craze, Farragut Primary School principal, also worked as a teacher and assistant principal under Dr. Frazier.

“I’ve known Bob for a very long time, we grew up in the same town,” Craze said. “We were in school together in the seventh-grade. I have known him and his wife for fifty years. He is absolutely an example of a wonderful, wonderful human being. Even as a young man in junior high school, he was someone to model after. He’s mentored many, many educators in Knox County.

“He was a wonderful leader, a wonderful father, and very close to his family,” Craze added. “I can’t say enough good things about Bob Frazier. He’s probably as close to ideal as you could get. He’s been a father to many other people’s children, at heart.”

Christine Williams, an elementary school supervisor for Knox County Schools, has known Dr. Frazier for about 20 years.

“He was a genuinely caring person who put his job and family first. He adored his family,” she said. “He was a real family man. He’s one that you could call and ask an opinion of and sit down and talk … could offer good sound advice when you needed it. He’s going to be greatly missed by all of us in the school system. It’s a great loss. They lost a really great father figure in their lives and a mentor.”

Williams spent Tuesday morning at FIS to lend assistance. “The kids were very quiet and subdued,” she said, “and were given opportunities to express their grief through discussions, artwork and writing, and that will continue.” Williams said the school rallied together [Tuesday], including staff from other schools and the community.

“Many parents are volunteering, answering phones, going in classrooms if teachers need a short break.”

FHS principal Michael Reynolds said Frazier was “an asset to the school and community, and will sorely be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the community and his family.”

A teacher at Paint Rock Valley High School in Princeton, Ala., from 1963 to 1964, Dr. Frazier moved to Madison Junior High School, Madison, Ala., as a teacher from 1964-1966 before becoming assistant principal there from 1966 to 1969.

He moved on to Madison County High School, Gurley, Ala., where he served as both assistant principal and principal in 1970-71.

In Knox County, Dr. Frazier served as director of student teaching for The University of Tennessee in 1973 after serving as assistant to the director of student teaching there in 1971-1972.

Dr. Frazier was principal at Ramsey Elementary School from 1973-1975, then came to Farragut as assistant principal at FMS in 1975-1976.

Carolyn Evans and Jerry Dean contributed to this story.


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