INVERNESS - James McMillan "Jim" Fraser, 72, died on Saturday, May 10, 2003, at a Great Falls medical center of cancer.

Vigil prayers will be Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Inverness. Funeral Mass will be 11 a.m. on Friday at the church, with burial following at the Inverness Cemetery.

Jim was born on the family farm at Cascade to Donald and Theresa (Borys) Fraser on Aug. 14, 1930. At age 9, his family moved to a farm south of Inverness. He attended country schools through seventh grade, then finished his secondary education in Joplin, graduating from Joplin High School in 1948. He attended the College of Great Falls for three years where he studied accounting and business administration.

Jim received his draft notice from the U.S. Army in 1951. Preferring not to be a foot soldier, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served during the Korean Conflict in the China campaign on the ship U.S.S. Philippine. Because of his strong bookkeeping skills, he worked mainly as a payroll clerk during those military years. He received his honorable discharge in 1955 and returned to Montana.

Jim worked for two of his brothers in the farming business in the few years that followed. In 1960 he began working as an elevator repairman in the mid-Montana Hi-Line. In 1965 Jim and his two brothers, Charlie and Duane, formed a partnership and bought the old Meyer's Service Station in Inverness. Fittingly, they named their new business Fraser's Conoco, which specialized in gasoline and bulk fuel, tire sales and automotive repairs. They expanded their business in 1973 with the purchase of Hanson's Texaco in Chester, then again in 1988 when they bought the Galata Co-op in Galata. Charlie eventually sold his interests, and Jim and Duane continue to operate the business as Fraser's Oil, Inc.

Jim married Carol Ann Evans on July 11, 1970 in Inverness. They raised a family of four.

Jim loved his life and work, and even though he was of retirement age, he continued to work hard and remained dedicated to his business. He had good health until he was diagnosed with cancer in March. His condition rapidly deteriorated.

Jim was a longtime member of the Inverness Commercial Club and the Volunteer Fire Department. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping and his family has many fond memories of outings with Jim. He was always a Ford man, but enjoyed working on all vehicles. He liked playing cribbage and watching pro sports, especially hockey. Some of his favorite teams were the Edmonton Oilers, New York Yankees, Boston Celtics and Dallas Cowboys. He will be remembered for his good sense of humor and his ability to pull off a practical joke without hard feelings.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Bud Fraser and Clint Fraser.

Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Carol Fraser of Inverness; children, Tina (Marty) Wood of Joplin, Danny (Erin) Fraser of Seattle, Wash., Kip Fraser and significant other, Donde Hopstad, of Inverness, and Stacy (Darby) Ditmar of Rudyard; one grandson; brothers, Donald Fraser of Cascade, Rodney Fraser of Sun Prairie, Bill Fraser of Chester, Charles Fraser of Joplin, Scott Fraser of Springdale, Wash., Duane Fraser of Inverness, and Darrell Fraser of Great Falls; sisters, Bertha Standley of Cascade, Eleanor Fransen of Great Falls, Ruby Barrett of Concord, Ohio, Ann Carlson of Sun City, Ariz. and Darlene Wood of Payson, Ariz .; and numerous nephews and nieces.

Memorials may be sent to the Gift of Life, a Benifis Foundation in Great Falls.

Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel in Chester.


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