David Russell Frazier


Former Omak resident and longtime Omak School District counselor David Russell Frazier peacefully passed from this life and began his next journey on March 24, 2021, at the conclusion of a long series of medical challenges due to the rare disease amyloidosis. While this condition imposed many limits over the last fourteen years, he met them with steady resolve, just as he dealt with other challenges, creating a life more defined by love, curiosity, and caring.

Born in Bremerton, Washington on January 21st, 1944, to William Russell and Etta Mae (Sipe) Frazier, he was the oldest of three children. After spending his earliest years in Bellevue, the family returned to Kitsap County, moving initially to Old Bangor in the shadow of his Grandparents’ general store before moving nearby to the Olympic View community. He graduated from Central Kitsap High School in 1963, followed by two years at Olympic View College, and then transferred to Central Washington State College where he studied Political Science and Geography, and met his future wife, Peggy McBride.

Upon Graduation in 1967, he enlisted in the Army and following basic training at Fort Lewis, was sent to US Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird in Baltimore, Maryland before completing Vietnamese language training in El Paso, Texas. Prior to his deployment to Vietnam in December of 1968, he and Peggy were married in Lynwood, Washington on November 9th. While he avoided the grueling infantry experience of Vietnam, his counterintelligence posting in Qui Nhon brought with it a different set of psychological burdens and exposure to agent orange which echoed throughout his life.

Upon his return and discharge in December of 1969, during the “Boeing Bust” in Seattle, David and Peggy headed south, intending to reach Los Angeles but settling in San Francisco after a “quick stop” to stay with an acquaintance lasted several months. He worked as a clerk for a Japanese shipping firm but left after concluding the two-martini management track wasn’t the life he envisioned.

In 1971 they moved to Colorado where David attended graduate school in Education at the University of Northern Colorado. In April 1972 their son Ryan was born, and shortly thereafter they returned to Washington State where they spent the remainder of their years together. They spent two years in the tiny, remote Quinault Reservation town of Taholah on the Washington coast, where he taught kindergarten and drove a school bus. This was followed by a stint teaching at a school for delinquent boys accessible only by private boat on Cypress Island in the San Juans.

In the summer of 1976, the family settled in Omak, which they would make their home and community for over 30 years. Their daughter Caryn was born in December of that year, and David began work at the nearby Pascal Sherman Indian School. While he loved classroom teaching, he wanted to more directly impact the lives of students, and so obtained a master’s in counseling from Whitworth College. Eventually he took a counseling role in the Omak School District, remaining there until his retirement in 2006. During this time, he made innumerable connections to students, many of whom stayed in contact long after their school days had passed. During these years David was active in the community, serving as a volunteer EMT on the ambulance, long time 4H leader, providing mediation services to the county, supporting the American Cancer Society after his own encounter in his late 40s, and countless other contributions.

Immediately following his retirement, he acted upon a long-held desire to contribute to a very different community, that of Qui Nohn, where he had been stationed in Vietnam. For six months he travelled around the country and volunteered at the Nguyen Nga Center, which supported children suffering from severe birth defects and injury, some of which are the result of agent orange and landmines left from the war.

Upon this second return from Vietnam, David pursued a variety of interests and passions. He continued his annual multi-week paleontology and fishing trips to Montana and Wyoming with long-time friend “Lucky” Joel Anderson, enjoyed travel to Mexico, Central America, France, Italy, Hawaii, and the “old home” of Scotland, and used travel as an excuse to study Vietnamese, Spanish, and French. He absorbed cookbooks and worked to master breadmaking, read broadly, scratched away at a number of long-standing writing projects, and deeply explored the Buddhist faith.

After fretting for many years about the lack of grandchildren, his patience was rewarded with five of them in the course of four years, leading he and Peggy to move to Cheney and later Spokane to be closer to half of them. He spent many hours teaching them to fish and play cribbage, inspiring a love of science and art, and simply watching and enjoying their interests, antics, laughter, and joy. Despite over a decade of major health challenges during this time, David always pushed himself, often silently and sometimes in pain, to be active and engaged with people and the world, breathing in and exhaling its energy.

David is survived by Peggy, his wife of 52 years; sister Dian Jahn (Steve) of Anacortes, WA; brother Larry of Silverdale, WA; son Ryan, daughter-in-law Salina Gonzales, grandchildren Sofia and Evan of Cambridge, MA; daughter Caryn, son-in-law Brian, grandchildren Camie, Maicy, and Leslie Bothman of Rosalia, WA; niece Lara Berglund (Lief) and aunts Joyce Hayward, Doris Dow, and Judy Skidmore. While it would be impossible to list his extensive friends, closest among them were his childhood co-conspirators Jim Peterson and Gary Parker and his “brother” Patrick Smedile. To so many others, know that the family acknowledges you and the place you had in his life. His impact on family, friends, students, colleagues, and community will be both deeply missed yet strongly felt, his legacy threaded through the fabric of the many lives who were lucky enough to walk with him along their life-paths. We will miss David’s presence and guidance deeply but feel joy knowing and remembering the impact he made on our lives through which his presence will long be with us.

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