Many people of Powder River County remember David Larry Fraser. Larry died December 31, 2016, finally losing a lengthy battle against cancer. Over the years Larry returned to Broadus many times to take park in high school reunions, visit friends and to play in the Spencer Damn Memorial Golf Tournament. Although he was born in Deadwood, South Dakota, Larry spent his early years in Northeast Wyoming. His family came to the Broadus area when Larry was in the seventh grade. His father worked out of Broadus as a government trapper. Larry attended Powder River County High School in the class of 1958, but spent his senior year in Sundance, Wyoming. Larry was nominated to the US Naval Academy. He describes his experience there as, “I worked hard, though ineffectively and struggled through until the final exams of the spring semester when I flunked English…I was quite compatible with the military lifestyle and way of doing things, however, and my leadership and military proficiency marks reflected this.” Larry endured two years of an engineering program at Montana State University in Bozeman and was elated when he was accepted into Marine Corps flight training in Pensacola. He flew helicopters in Vietnam and received the Purple Heart in addition to several service medals. Following his Marine Corps service, he remained in that military theater. Operating out of Laos and Thailand, he flew missions for the CIA’s Air America. He served a pair of two year stints with Air America, separated by a year back in including flying for the US Forest Service. He returned to school, getting his Baccalaureate from Northern Arizona University. He received joint law and public administration degrees from the University of Kansas. He was admitted to the Kansas Bar and the Federal Bar.
He and Glenna both took jobs with the US Customs Service, living in Georgia and Florida. Larry was with the Customs Aviation Program. He describes the job as, “Our job was to discover drug smugglers in General Aviation type aircraft, chase them until they land and arrest them, usually at night; this was the most exciting flying I had done since Southeast Asia.” After Larry retired from the Customs Service, he worked as a consultant testing airborne instrumentation designed for drug interdiction. He also taught classes in law for the FBI and other law enforcement personnel.
A crushing blow for Larry was when he lost Glenna to a sudden heart attack. He sold their house in Jacksonville, bough a condominium in Satellite Beach and for a few years traveled extensively, using Thailand as a base. That is where he met and married Tong from their stops when Larry played in the golf tournaments. After stops in Broadus, they usually made a trip west to visit his brother Danny in Helena and other friends in western Montana. Larry and Tong did a lot of traveling together, both in North America and overseas.
Larry’s battle with cancer began about six years ago at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He returned to John Hopkins several times for cancer treatment. When it became apparent that his cancer was untreatable, Larry wanted to return Montana. He spent his last few days under hospice care in Helena. In late April, Larry Fraser will be interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Larry is preceded in death by his parents, June and Sully Fraser; grandparents, Agnes and Dave Fraser; his wife, Glenna Fraser and son, Eric Fraser. Survivors include his wife, Pattranit Sakamornrat “Tong” of Viera, Florida; his son, David of Herndon, Virginia and two granddaughters, Lauren and Karina; his brother Dan (JanDee) of Helena, Montana; his sister Kathy (Wes) McKnight of Charlie Lake, British Columbia and numerous nieces and nephews to mourn his passing.