I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;
- Tri-Valley Herald : Looking Back
- Valley Times : Do You Remember?
- The Independent : Do You Remember?
The Articles appear in the Herald and Independent on Thursdays,
and the Times on Sundays.
They will also be found on this page each week as well.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.
Tribute to a "Can-Do" lawyer
By Barry Schrader..................................December
"Where are the clowns? Send in the clowns
there ought to
be clowns; don't bother, they're here."
Those words to a popular musical came to mind as I sat with an overflow
congregation at St. Michael's Catholic Church Monday, paying our last respects
to one of Livermore's finest gentlemen-Keith Fraser.
The Rotary rodeo parade committee made a mistake in selecting the Grand
Marshal last June-it should have been Keith Fraser without a doubt. He gave
a lifetime of community service to those he loved and knew-most of "old
Livermore." The parade and the community will be poorer with the loss
of not only a respected barrister, but a fine clown and magician to boot.
Kandu and his gaggle of Livermore clowns brightened every parade here for
Memories flooded back as I sat contemplating the loss. I recalled a rodeo
parade in the early Eighties when a man dressed in a clown costume with
bulb nose, orange hair and fully painted face approached me. He called me
by name and asked if I was announcing the rodeo parade. The stranger then
proceeded to ask that I not announce his name over the PA system, "just
keep us anonymous" was his request. Finally it dawned on me who was
behind the face paint and I said, "Keith, you are too modest, and everyone
would love to know who is in that costume
" That was the kind
of public spirited person he was, preferring to remain low key and unidentified
for parade goers. But over the years I denied that request and mentioned
him by name from the judging stand every time I could. He deserved that
recognition-and much more.
I first got acquainted with Keith in the early 1970s when he would stop
by the newspaper office at Third and I in Livermore and ask for press credentials
to cover the Bing Crosby Golf Classic, since he wanted to go, and offered
to bring back some photos for our sports pages. I always obliged, and sure
enough, he would produce great shots of celebrities and famous golfers.
Then I started noticing his photo entries in the Alameda County Fair were
winning prizes. And mine weren't. In fact I submitted about three at a time
and would be lucky to have one accepted. So I good naturedly accused him
of having an "in" with the fair photo judges, but he assured me
his wife, Marilyn, was not in charge of judging, even though she did work
at the fair.
His reputation as an accomplished shutterbug caused his law office partners
to tease that "the rise and fall of Kodak stock depended on how much
film Keith bought that particular week." He photographed his kids and
grandkids, sporting events, clown gatherings, community events, and just
about anything else that moved or looked scenic. I particularly admired
his skilful Yosemite photography. Let's hope the Alameda County Fair will
feature a "retrospective" of his photographs, and maybe include
a portion of his extensive antique camera collection for fairgoers to enjoy
It is certainly true what his lifelong friend Gordon Rasmussen said at the
funeral: "When Keith spoke (at a board meeting or council meeting)
everybody listened." Gordon summed it up best in closing with: "Keith
is up there (in Heaven) in a red truck, in his clown suit, spreading happiness
forever!" There were a lot of amateur clowns in the church that day,
and hardly a dry eye among them
* * *
Here's the "history mystery" question for this week: Whose
picture appears on every page of the strange new website: www.historydetectives.info
and the first person to solve that will get an autographed photo!
* * *
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551