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1950 Daniel 2022

Daniel Joseph Frazier Jr

June 17, 1950 — July 11, 2022

Daniel Joseph Frazier Jr 6-17-1950 – 7-11-22 Where do I start with this guy?? Dan was a Gemini… a double Gemini, no less. His knowledge was limitless because his curiosity was insatiable. A genuine touchstone for those who knew him. I called him an “old soul” because he was so comfortable in his own skin and understood the human experience so well. No drama there. This wise and generous man came here with a purpose… to create… and express… and hopefully leave his mark. Born in New Orleans, the first son to Daniel Frazier and Betty Lou McSpadden, Dan was a descendant of many cultures around the world. His mother said as soon as he could talk he was telling everyone why he was here and how he could solve all their problems. Unfortunately, no one thought to write these words of wisdom down and Dan’s hand-eye coordination did not kick in for many years. He got his childhood fun in as quickly as he could playing on the beach in Louisiana with every kid he could find, and in his parents’ general store. Running free with just shorts (or nothing at all) was his daily ritual. When he was 4, his parents brought home a baby brother. Looking around the tiny trailer he said earnestly, “Take it back, there’s no room.” Not heeding his words of wisdom, to top it off a couple years later, they brought home a baby sister! Still he was always loyal devoted to his family. When Dan was 7, the family doctor told Dan’s parents they needed to leave the humid climate because of Dan’s lungs. For reasons never revealed, the family moved over 40 times and to several different states. With no other option but to go with the flow, he finally just started telling the teacher at each new school when she would ask his name, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll be gone soon.” She would ask if his family was in the military and he would respond, “No, they’re just gypsies.” His truly fun and carefree adolescent and teen years went by all too quickly for him. He sacrificed a lot of opportunities by having to be the responsible child in the family while his parents worked split shifts. There was no extra money for things like school field trips, and Christmas and birthdays meant getting underwear. So his toys were things just found in the yard – like rocks and sticks -- which just challenged his imagination to grow. Dan won his first science award and wrote his first song at 13, and did wonderful watercolor paintings by 14. Since no one took his advice seriously, he turned to acting. Overflowing with ideas and energy he also loved writing, composing songs and photography. He found joy in listening to comedic albums by Allan Sherman and Andy Griffith, and listened to all kinds of music from Bach to movie scores of Bye Bye Birdie. He starred in many high school plays and loved every moment of it. Phoenix’s Park ‘N’ Swap was his favorite shopping location, finding electronics and books for just pennies, and he read voraciously. His father invested a hard-earned $25 towards Dan’s effort to fix the family tv that broke, and he did, and it worked! That began a money-making business of repairing old televisions. One summer, he bought an old typewriter and taught himself how to type by reading a book from the library. Finding handwriting tedious and too slow for his brain, he quickly switched to typing… this was a game-changer for him. His teachers begged him to keep his essays to under 20 pages. His father used to yell at him while he typed at night in his bedroom to be quiet so they could watch Wagon Train. Aargh. As Dan got older, he worked odd jobs and finally saved enough money to move out after graduating high school. During these early years, he found a small band of chums to enjoy life with and they were friends forever. At parties he would often break out into song, recite old jingles, or quote Rocky & Bullwinkle bits while imitating the voices of the entire cast. Dan preferred to work his own businesses rather than work for others. He created Central Advertising and The Poster Shop, doing advertising and photography. By the time he was twenty, excited by what he had accomplished so far, he headed to Los Angeles to find other like-minded people. He attended and worked at UCLA, wrote and published the Los Angeles Image, and was a contributing author for The Do It Now Foundation’s drug education publications. Having thoroughly enjoyed theater in high school, Dan also created his own theatrical productions including musical scores, screen plays, set design, and production. The themes centered around poking fun at himself and society, using his own witty satire and humor. But having his feet firmly on the ground, Dan did not wait around to be “discovered” in Hollywood. He set his sights rather on exploring his other interests and moved back to Phoenix, where he started new businesses in video and engineering. But something else happened that he did not expect. And that was to find a love he never, ever imagined he would experience. He always thought of himself as Allan in Woody Allen’s “Play It Again Sam”. He thought he’d never know the type of head over heels love you see in the movies. And he told me that special love was me… and how it surprised even him. Year after year, he delighted me with heart-felt poems and artwork… I treasure all of it. Dan’s focus turned to honing his skills. As a child he saw how his parents and others around him struggled just to put food on the table. He was steadfastly determined to have financial stability for us both in our later years and thus set our path in that direction. And anything Dan set his mind to, he achieved. He was not afraid to change his career focus when he saw the tide was turning and forged boldly ahead in his careers with sheer determination, study, and courage. I was always amazed at how clear-cut things were to him while the rest of us seemed to struggle to figure out what life was all about. Dan was insightful and loved a challenge. His diverse careers included video and sound engineering, software design, taping heart surgeries, creating a cutting-edge emergency room device for the Arizona Heart Institute, and teaching at the community college level. Every job he undertook gained him a reputation of being an ingenious problem-solver. His colleagues dubbed him “Le Grand Frazoo”… the person you called on when the “professionals” couldn’t figure things out. The guy that could keep things working and moving forward for the rest of us… and this gathered him a few more close compadres. His passion for science and learning about everything -- from the design of the smallest entities of life to the vastness of the universe -- was constant. And he was always excited to share what he knew about these concepts with others whether they were 5 yrs old or 85. Discussing how everything is connected… Time, Space, Energy. One fine day, he had heard the radio broadcast of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” full of short, funny and right-to-the-heart of it sayings like “people are a problem”. Firesign Theatre’s irreverent bits also hit the mark. This was the type of satirical crazy thoughtful humor Dan delighted in. He also loved forward-thinking science fiction of which Isaac Isamov and Gene Roddenberry dreamed. Having come of age in the mind-expanding era of the 60s, to his dismay Dan observed subsequent decades tightening the “socially acceptable” exchange of ideas rather than expanding on them. It was difficult to find an outlet for joie de vivre and spontaneous laughter. So this teacher and philosopher at heart turned daily to writing and introspection. He found a welcoming community on Storywrite.com and AllPoetry.com and wrote under the pen name of “Majix” and “Darth”. As Dan knew, time was marching on and his “meat suit”, that had served him well for many decades, now had become worn and hard to manage. Never afraid of death, he was more than ready to get on with the evolution to come, having had a good run with the feature length film of his own life. He’d already been through a dozen near death experiences. And although he did not achieve his long-time wish of dying from “spontaneous human combustion”, he finally ditched his meat suit. I can picture him now smiling impishly, telling me everything is okay. “Death is a natural part of life”, he often said to me kindly. “All the cool kids are doing it.” I would not be surprised due to his insatiable curiosity and “the improbability factor”, that he has already chosen his next life form. He often said he wanted to come back as slime mold… all in all an extremely interesting organism. You see what I am talking about… I could go on and on, but Dan always said, don’t oversell it. Let your audience fill in the blanks. Sorry, Dan, this was the least I could say, and yet there is so much more. His collection of witty, humorous, introspective and sometimes irreverent stories make you think and laugh… you won’t be able to help it. The times when I would walk into his office and saw the biggest smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye was when he was engaged in the word craft of spinning a tale. He did that until his very last day. His stories will be published on Amazon. And last but not least, Dan always said, let’s put the “fun” back in funeral. In fact, that was written on the will when I pulled it out of the filing cabinet! Humor… gets us through every time. All I ever wanted was someone to love, and someone to love me… and I got it. Thank you so much, Dan. Thank you. ‘Nuff said. * * * * * He told me to write… so this is my story… about the most important person I had in my life… Dan. Who I was fortunate enough to spend over 48 years with, and from whom I learned so much. I hope you take the time to notice the best stories in your life. “Share and Enjoy”. And laugh out loud! For more on Dan’s celebration of life in October, write Pam Pawlak at ppawlak23@yahoo.com. In Dan’s memory, you can donate to the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Arizona Science Museum or your favorite charity.
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