By Jake Weber | Albion College Communications
Elizabeth "Liz" Fraser, wife of legendary Albion College coach and athletic director Morley Fraser and ultimate fan of Briton athletics, passed away July 21 at the age of 92.
Liz's passion for Albion stretched over seven decades and extended beyond athletics to academic and artistic activities. A fixture at sporting events, concerts and theatre performances for some 66 years, Liz also took an active interest in students who received scholarships established in memory of her husband and grandson (Steven Gilbert, '93). In 2020, 16 years after Morley's death, she was still a well-known figure on campus.
"Liz was so witty and had an enormous heart," says Sunny Kim, '20, a Morley Fraser Leadership Award recipient. "Her legacy is evident, and I will always be touched and honored that I had her friendship, and can feel her spirit everywhere."
'A Very Special Lady'
Morley and Liz Fraser arrived in Albion in 1954 after Morley was offered the head football job at the College. In 15 seasons, from 1954-68, Fraser's teams posted an 80-41-1 record while winning six Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships. At the same time, he led the Albion baseball team to seven conference titles through the 1972 season.
Liz was legendary for the relationships she maintained, over decades, with dozens of Morley's former athletes.
"To many of us, she was like a second mother," says Duncan Beagle, '70, a judge serving on Michigan's 7th Judicial Circuit Court and a pitcher on Fraser's baseball team. Beagle notes that the Frasers drove to Flint to witness his swearing-in as a judge; he also saw Liz at Flint High School football games when her sons, both coaches, brought their teams to play.
Beagle recalls a 2018 reunion he and several teammates enjoyed with Liz, with all telling stories of the legendary coach.
"Morley was definitely a personality," he says. "But after we left Albion, we began to appreciate how much more there was to Liz than being 'Coach's wife.' She was a very special lady."
"She was slowing down and she knew it, but nothing dampened her spirit or commitment," says Peg Mitchell Turner, '69, recalling that Liz climbed the bleachers to watch Briton basketball games during the winter of 2020.
While praising Liz's dedication to causes and institutions, Turner also noted Liz's constant concern for individuals.
"She was a 'clipper' and whenever she cleaned out a drawer, I'd get an envelope in the mail -- there would be a 20-year-old article Liz thought we would like," Turner says. "When Jessie Longhurst ('06) had her accident, Liz reached out to the family, because she understood losing a child in that way. She also supported Jessie's Gift (an endowed fund established at the College). Her arms extended to everyone."
Liz is survived by five children, including Diane Fraser, '84, 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Family visitation will take place Friday, July 24, from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Goodrich Chapel; face masks will be required and physical distancing will be observed. A private ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m., with live streaming via Facebook; details will be provided here when they are finalized.
The full piece released on Albion.edu can be found here.