Raymond Merle Frazee…December 29, 1921 – April 29, 2015

Frazee-Merle-WEBRaymond Merle Frazee was born on December 29, 1921, in Hugoton, Kansas, the second of six children born to William Forrest Frazee and Juanita Irene Moser.  The family moved to Kiowa County Colorado in 1926, where they settled in the Galatea area and made a living farming and ranching.  One of his fond memories of life at home in Galatea was of his mother playing the piano while she and his father sang hymns.  Merle attended school in Galatea and then in Eads, graduating with the class of 1940.  After graduation, Merle worked with his father on the Galatea ranch until being drafted into the army in 1942. He was granted a 30-60 day delay to help complete farm work.  Before leaving for boot camp, Merle married his sweetheart, Dorothy Mae Roberts of Eads on July 25, 1942, in Hugoton, Kansas.  Merle then left in October of that year for basic training at McClellan Field near Sacramento, California, and additional training exercises in Idaho. Dorothy was able to join him for a time before he was shipped overseas.  Merle served in WWII in Africa and Italy.  Upon returning from the service, he and his young family made their home five miles south of Galatea where he ranched in partnership with his younger brother, Clyde.  The two brothers built the home where Merle and Dorothy raised five children, Larry, Lauretta, Juanita, Billy, and Patti, and where he lived until his death.

Merle had a love of sports. One of his favorite memories from high school was playing on an undefeated football team. In baseball, he was an outstanding catcher.  While in the army, word got around about his skills in baseball, and he was recruited to play on an army team helping to divert the soldier’s attention from the rigors of war.  Some of his ball-playing memories included playing against Billy Martin and Satchel Paige.  He was instrumental in getting and installing lights around the Eads baseball field, which allowed for late night baseball playing. For entertainment, he and Dorothy would play cards with neighbors in the evenings; listen to boxing on the radio, or square dance.  He became engaged in the thoroughbred horse racing industry, once again following in the footsteps of his father whom he, to his death, held in the highest esteem as his source of great influence and genuine pride. In 1987, Merle was honored by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association as one of the outstanding thoroughbred breeders of the country. He enjoyed hunting, whether it was hunting geese around the area, elk in the mountains, pheasants in the fields, or prairie dogs and rattlesnakes in the pastures.  Many weekends were spent hunting coyotes with his greyhounds. Merle and his sons would also spend hours arrowhead hunting around the “Salt Lake” north of his house.  At one time he had quite a collection of arrowheads and rattlesnake rattles.

Merle earned his pilot license in 1974, owning his own plane, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Flying gave him great pleasure, even though Dorothy refused to ever join him in the air.  He loved that he could work part of a day and still get to the horse races to watch his horses run and spend time with his sons.

An overcomer of adversity, Merle has shown strength of character through many hardships, including the loss of a baby sister Etta, the death of his older brother, Leo, in WWII, the dirty 30’s, the dust bowl of the 1950’s, his home being robbed, the loss of both parents, the deaths of his other siblings (Clyde, Francis, Gala), and the death of his beloved wife.  His many stories told of surviving severe drought, extreme floods, deadly blizzards, sometimes on horseback, diseases in cattle herds, and cutting cactus by hand to feed to the cattle when there was no grass. He survived multiple illnesses, injuries, and surgeries. He would answer the doctor’s request for his medical history with, “I’ve had everything but fallen arches.”

Merle loved people and he was loved and admired by all who met him.  A master story teller and conversationalist, he shared memories and history with lively and colorful stories, saying, “I remember it like it happened yesterday,” which he did, even to the smallest of details. Anyone who visited him at his home would be treated to a story or two, a big bowl of the best popcorn around, and maybe even a game of Gin Rummy.  He even took delight in keeping a coiled, frozen rattlesnake in his freezer to show visitors, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

He continued to stay engaged in current events, always reading, studying, and learning. Merle took great interest in the lives of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  He was always a wise advisor to all of his family, instilling the strength of character and the strong love of family he learned from his mother and father into each member.

Merle passed from this life into glory on April 29, 2015, following a brief illness at the Weisbrod Memorial Hospital in Eads, Colorado, with his three daughters by his side. As patriarch of his family, Merle leaves behind a great heritage and legacy, with 5 children, 18 grandchildren, and 27 great grandchildren.  His greatest source of pride was his family. He will be greatly missed.

Funeral services were held on Friday, May 8, 2015 at the United Methodist Church in Eads.  Merle’s 12 grandsons:  Todd Frazee, Terrill Frazee, Tyler Frazee, Jimmy Brown, Mark Brown, Kevin Brown, Jeffrey Duncan, David Duncan, Justin Warren, Colton Warren, Trent Frazee & Dylan Frazee served as casket bearers.  Honorary Casket bearers were:  Forrest Frazee, Dennis Frazee, Rob Frazee, Tony Helfirch, Brent Frazee, Kent Frazee, Steve Frazee, Jimmy Bendorf, Frankie Stoker, Bill Barnett, Keith Uhland, David Pettinger, Loren Patterson, Dickey Moore, L.D. Nelson and Bob Laird.

Committal services with full military honors provided by the William Kimmell Post #9700 and the Kit Carson Post #3411 were held at the Eads Cemetery.  Memorial contributions can be made to the Raymond Frazee Memorial Fund in care of the Brown Funeral Home; Box 432; Eads, CO  81036.  Friends and family can sign the guestbook and register online condolences at www.brownfuneraldirectors.com.  Funeral services were entrusted to the care of the Brown Funeral Home.

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