Cover photo for Barry Fraser's Obituary
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1947 Barry 2023

Barry Fraser

April 8, 1947 — January 3, 2023


Barry John Fraser died on January 3, 2023, at home in Tallahassee, Florida, at the age of 75,
after a long battle with Parkinson’s. He was born on April 8, 1947 in Kingston, New York, to Clay
and Wanda Fraser, the beloved baby of the family with two older sisters. Growing up
surrounded by the beauty of the Catskill Mountains inspired his lifelong love of mountains and of
People often said that Barry was the gentlest and kindest man they ever knew. He loved dogs,
summer rain, and the bluebirds that nested in the birdhouse in the front yard. Shaped by his
father’s deep love, he was compassionate and loved deeply. He had a preternatural ability to
make others feel seen and understood, a quality he put to good use during his 20 years working
as a counselor.
Barry went to St. Joseph’s elementary school and Catholic high school. He graduated from
Marist College in 1969. Drawing an unlucky draft card number, he enlisted in the Navy and was
sent to a remote post on Adak Island, Alaska. His Navy benefits enabled him to complete a
graduate program in rehabilitation counseling, and he eventually established a private practice
in Orlando.
Barry played guitar and harmonica, and met the love of his life, LucyAnn, at a jam session at the
co-op house where she was living in Orlando. They were married in 1984 and welcomed their
daughter Kristin in 1985. He loved being a husband, father, and grandfather, and relished
participating in Kristin‘s activities, setting up tree swings and gymnastics bars in the backyard,
editing videos of her meets, and joining a father-daughter organization to take her on camping
Family and his love of nature drew him to Tallahassee in 1991. Fascination with computers led
him to a new career monitoring and managing data for state drug treatment and cancer
prevention programs. His creativity found an outlet through music, songwriting and videos. After
retirement he put both his creativity and love of computers to use by making videos on subjects
ranging from the aforementioned bluebirds to a documentary about a local artist.
He is survived by his wife, LucyAnn, his daughter Kristin with her husband Dorian, and his
granddaughters Felicity and Blythe.
Eulogy for Barry Fraser by his daughter, Kristin Geisler
My dad was a gentle man and he loved gentle things - dogs, summer rain, bluebirds. His young
body was sturdy and strong, and he could easily hoist me up on his shoulders, and did
whenever I asked, even at the end of a long hike. His beard was scratchy but soft when he
firmly kissed my cheek goodbye - it felt the same when it was brown as when it was white. Long
after his hair turned gray, if you asked what color his hair was, he’d say “brown” completely in
earnest and be confused when we laughed. When he had to shave his beard for his job
counseling prisoners, he asked me, a schoolchild, if it was okay first, and let me watch him do it
so I wouldn’t be scared. His hands were always warm and dry, and when I was 7 he could fit
them around my waist.

I try to remember these details about his body because it’s his body no one can deny is gone
forever. As a child he called me sweetheart, girly, squirt, but as an adult, just sweetheart
remained. He loved key lime pie, vanilla ice cream, and hated even a hint of spiciness in his
food. He wore the same ‘80s colorblock striped shirts just about every day as long as he could,
until first fashion and what stores were willing to carry and then Parkinson’s stopped him. He
would always stop at Baskin Robbins for a treat if I asked him while he drove me somewhere.
He would giggle mischievously about things he liked, and when he found something funny the
ends of his sentences would turn into giggles. Uncle Barry was my cousins’ favorite uncle and
Mr. Barry was my friends’ favorite dad, because he was kind and he was fun and lovable and
children loved him as much as he loved them. He was deeply compassionate towards all people
and effortlessly assumed the best about them.
He was given to visions and mystical things way before he started having hallucinations. He told
me that he had a vision of a dark-haired woman the night before he met my mom and ended the
story with “how ‘bout them apples?!” He hallucinated about my girls and I took comfort in it, that
he saw his granddaughters playing around the house. He hallucinated about me being there
when I was in Colorado, told me that he felt my love filling the room. I told him that part was real.
He sat on a rocking chair on the porch at our house on Briarcreek where I grew up every time it
rained to watch and listen to it, and always welcomed me on his lap, when I was small enough
to fit and even when I probably wasn’t, to sit and listen with him. He built a swing for me in our
backyard between two trees with chains so long that when he gave me strong pushes my feet
could touch the high branches of the pine trees. He trusted me and my intuitions implicitly, and
took them seriously even as a child, which taught me how to do that for myself.
His love, for me, as a kid and through my whole life, was like the sun rising in the morning -
there could be nothing more constant. He was steadfastly proud of and confident in me even
when I felt lost and faltering. He wavered in wanting to stay and wanting to go, despite all his
suffering, because he did not want to be separated from me and my mom. Through the haze of
his disease he gave everything he had to be there with us, even when it was beyond him. In his
last days of lucidity he read books to Felicity and clapped along with Blythe and struggled to the
floor to play blocks with them, and once when I helped him in his chair he grabbed my face as if
seizing a moment when the sun came from behind the clouds and said, “I love you, you are the
light of my life.” He used the word “cool” in situations where a stronger word was surely more
appropriate, such as “Dorian is truly your soulmate, and the love I see between you is so cool,”
and “when you were born I looked into your eyes and felt a love for you that was stronger than I
thought possible. Maybe you’ve experienced that with your children, that would be really cool.”
He was sentimental as hell and nothing was too sappy for him. He loved The Wonder Years and
Mary Oliver and earnest folk singers. He was a technological utopian; new devices were always
“so cool” and never scary, which I always thought was a great surprising thing for a Boomer
hippie male who wore t-shirts that said things like “May the Forest Be With You.” He loved sci-fi
but he loved it in a mystical way, especially time travel and multiverses. On his deathbed I
wished aloud that there is a multiverse where he never got Parkinson’s and my girls got the
privilege of knowing him like I knew him, because while I aspire to be the kind of parent he was
to me, I wish I could give them more, I wish I could give them him. On the morning he died I laid
in bed with him an hour and talked to him and read him poems that were giving me comfort. I
told him that we always want more more more and I want more but it wasn’t in the cards for us
and sometimes you just have to let it be enough. And it was enough. What he gave me, us, was
more than enough. I just have to let it be enough.

I’m going to finish with reading what my dad wrote - don’t worry, much more succinctly than me
- for his own father’s memorial, my grandfather, who was so much like him, and died when I was
13. So much is exactly what I would say about him, and so I think it is a good place to end.
When I think about dad, the first thought that comes to me is just how much he loved me
growing up, and how I always knew that - no matter what was going on in his life or mine…I
think I felt this from the first day I was born. Although many will say that it is not possible, I carry
with me a vivid memory of dad looking down on me as an infant, smiling. I can picture his young
face to this day, beaming with pride and love…I remember it even as I remember smiling and
looking down into Kristin’s eyes when she was just a few minutes old and wondering how it was
possible to feel so much love for any human being…I knew that this was the one precious gift
that dad gave to me: the ability to love like that and to feel so deeply.
I miss him dearly, but I know he is still with me. A few weeks after he died he came to me in a
dream. In the dream I was out driving with LucyAnn and Kristin somewhere a long ways from
home, and he drove up in this big fancy car. I was so surprised to see him and said, “why did
you come so far out here to find me?” And he said, “oh, I was just checking up on you, making
sure you’re all right.”
I know now that he will always be checking up on me from time to time just to see if I’m all right.
So, for me, today is not saying goodbye. For me it’s a time to remember. It’s remembering all
the gifts he gave to me during his life and of all the love he shared with me…It’s remembering
and thanking him for instilling in me the capacity to pass it all on to Kristin, and in turn to her
So thank you dad for all you’ve given me. I miss you terribly, but I also know you’re always with me.

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