The following is reprinted from the Aug. 3, 2012, Hope Star Salute to George Frazier, who passed away Sunday in Little Rock..
The following is reprinted from the Aug. 3, 2012, Hope Star Salute to George Frazier, who passed away Sunday in Little Rock. A man should be more than the sum of his resume. And, while long time Hope resident George Frazier's resume is extensive, it is the notion of him as “Mr. Hope” which stands out beyond the activities that define a resume. Make no mistake; Frazier's resume is significant. He was elected to the Hope City Board of Directors and has served as mayor, was a past president of the Hempstead County Economic Development Corp., as well as a director and past president of the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce, has served as a director of Hope Water and Light Corp., served on the foundation board of Red River Technical College (now the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope), is a past president and 50-year member of the Hope Kiwanis Club; he served on the community board of Medical Park Hospital, has served on the Hempstead County Quorum Court, is a long-time Democrat and former county Democrat Party chair as well as state executive committeeman, and is a former member of the Arkansas State Elections Commission. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Hope, has served on the board of the Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute, and has been president of the National Association of Independent Insurance Agents, and he was named the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1970. But, Frazier's relationship with Hope and Hempstead County began before all of the civic service came into being, during World War II. As Frazier related in a 2008 Hope Star interview, he fell in love with Hope the first time he arrived here while on leave from military service. “I just fell in love with it, and I said, 'If the Lord brings me back, I'm going to move to Hope,” he related. And, Frazier kept true to that dream; something which has helped characterize his life in Hope since then. “I think George and Hope are synonymous in many ways and appropriately so,” notes long time friend, and former White House Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, III, to whom Frazier was a mentor in many ways. “To me he represents what is best about Hope and Hempstead County and the people of our part of Arkansas. It kind of reminds me of Andy Griffith representing the people of Mayberry. They're kind of one in the same.” Frazier's is, indeed, a story of small town hope realized, as he returned from military service and, like many veterans of the war of the greatest generation, willingly found work where he could; in his case at the E. P. Young Chevrolet dealership. “I was in the old Checker Cafe, and E. P. Young, Sr., was in there and heard me talking to the manager about needing a job,” Frazier recalled in the 2008 interview. “He said, 'I've got an opening down at the Chevrolet place, if you're interested.' And, he hired me on the spot to work with the parts manager, and I spent a good many years at Young Chevrolet.” Frazier would likely point out, and friends and long time associates readily do so, that his first true success in Hope was his marriage to his wife, Effie, in 1948; a marriage of 64 years that produced three children, Dr. G. Thomas Frazier, Carol Frazier Maxwell, and Bo Frazier, who have been successful in their own right. “They all came out of the firmament that is Hope,” he noted in the interview. “Hope gave them their foundation and sent them forth to live their lives.” And, that was what Frazier did for others, as well, State Representative David “Bubba” Powers recalls of his boyhood friendship with Tommy Frazier. “Tommy was the same age; graduated together; played Little League together, high school football together; and, George, always being the proactive parent that he is was always supportive of everything all the children did, but of what everybody's children did,” Powers said. “I've known him my entire life from different perspectives along the way.” Frazier went on to become successful in the insurance business, first as an associate, later an partner, and, finally, owner of Anderson-Frazier Insurance Co., established in 1930 by the late Roy Anderson. Frazier became a partner in 1962, and was principal owner of the business until 1984. Frazier's perspective regarding Hope has always been at the center of his activity within the community, as he noted in 2008, that “there are problems for each generation that are really challenging. “But, it is so satisfying to deal with,” he added. “What I'd like to see now is young people to step out and assume responsibility where each one of these entities is concerned; if we're going to save Hope, save this country, save this world, we need the young people to step out, commit themselves to a life of activity in the community.” University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Chancellor Chris Thomason sees that encouragement of the next generations as part of both George and Effie's legacy. “I literally grew up in the shadow cast by George; because, when you think of George, you always think of him arm in arm with Effie,” Thomason said. “And, as a young child growing up in Hope, you just didn't see anything good going on in the community that wasn't in some way led or joined by George and Effie Frazier. “The desire for me to serve in policy and public service was, in a lot of ways, driven by watching these common individuals in our community do great things that helped everyone; not just themselves, or their businesses,” he added. “As a kid growing up, I personally benefitted from his and Effie's caring for our community. I was inspired to be someone in a position someday to give back to the community. “He showed me what the very definition of Hope was.”