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Wood River Journal, 1994

Wood River Journal, 19 Jan 1994, p. 18 - Obituary: Donald Fraser

Described as "truly one of sking's great gentlemen," Don William Fraser died at his home in Sun Valley, Idaho on 12 Jan 1994 at the age of 80. He was born on 11 Feb 1913 in Spokane, WA. Fraser's family moved to Seattle when he was seven. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and went to the University of Washington.

In 1936, Fraser became a member of the U.S. Olympic ski team. Since skiers were not subsidized in those days, he worked his way across the Altlantic, chipping paint on a Norwegian fruit boat. He joined the team to compete at Garmish-Partenkirchen. Following his return, while skiing on Mt Rainier, Don met his future wife, Gretchen Kunigk.

In 1937, Don traveled to Sun Valley to compete in the first Harriman Cup ski race. That summer he travelled with the U.S. Olympic Team to the Pan-American Games in Santiago, Chile, where he placed first. Soon after, Averell Harriman hired him to work in public relations for his new ski resort, Sun Valley. Don and Gretchen were married in Tacoma, WA in 1939.

In 1940, Don became sports director for Sun Valley and made a permanent home there. Both Don and Gretchen made the U.S. team for the 1940 Olympics, but the games were cancelled due to the war in Europe. When the U.S. entered the war, Don was commissioned into the U.S. Navy where he served in the Pacific Theatre as a gunnery officer.

In 1948, Gretchen Fraser won gold and siver medals in the Olympic Games at St Moritz. The following year, Gretchen gave birth to the couple's only child, Donald William Fraser, Jr.

After the war, Don did not return to work for Sun Valley, but instead founded Donald Fraser Co. with which he was associated until about 1988. Following retirement, Don and Gretchen lived in Sun Valley.

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