Herbert Ward Fraser

Fraser—Herbert Ward Fraser, 96, on May 2, 2017, in Richmond, Ind. Herb was born on February 23, 1921, in Andover, Mass., to Mabel Heald Ward and Herbert Freeman Fraser. He graduated in 1939 from George School and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Swarthmore College in 1943. From 1944 to 1946 he served as a U.S. Navy pilot, flying F6F fighter planes on missions off the carrier USS Hancock in the South Pacific. He earned a master’s in economics from Princeton University in 1949 and taught successively at Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College, and Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., while pursuing his doctorate, which he received from Princeton in 1961. He left Washington University in 1964 and from 1965-67 worked for the Rockefeller Foundation as an advisor to the economics faculty at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia. He then became head of the Department of Economics at Earlham College, moving to Richmond, Ind., and joining Clear Creek Meeting there. He valued his role in strengthening Earlham’s economics program and how well his students did on national standardized tests and admissions to renowned graduate schools.

In 1973 he took a sabbatical from Earlham to study the burgeoning Brazilian economy at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo, Brazil. He and his wife, Amanda Hilles Fraser, called Mandy, took a four month land trip from the United States to Brazil, driving from Richmond, Ind., to São Paulo, through Mexico; Central America; Panama (transshipping their car); Colombia; and the Andean countries to Chile, where they crossed the high Andes Mountains to Buenos Aires, Argentina, “turning left” (north), as Herb liked to quip, toward Montevideo, Uruguay. While studying, he visited the family of his son, Peter, who was the associate Peace Corps director for southern Brazil; his daughter-in-law, Soffia; and his new granddaughter.

Herb was committed to social and economic justice and to peace. A long-time member and past president of Richmond’s Rotary Club, he coordinated its participation in the Ambassadorial Scholarships Program. The Rotary Foundation named him a Paul Harris Fellow for his role in furthering international friendship and understanding. During the 1980s and 1990s, he served on the policy committee for Friends Committee on National Legislation and received the Robert Fisk Award from Indiana Civil Liberties Union (ICLU) in 1986 and in 1996. One of his important contributions was to the ICLU’s understanding of prison reform economics and incarceration policy.

His wife of 66 years, Amanda Hilles Fraser, passed away on March 29, 2012. He is survived by a son, Peter H. Fraser (Soffia); two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


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