OBITUARY: Douglas W. Fraser Sept. 21, 1941–Feb. 15, 2014

DOUGLAS W. FRASER Sept. 21, 1941–Feb. 15, 2014

In loving memory. Douglas Warren Fraser, 72, died in his home in the early morning of February 15, 2014, surrounded by loving family members and friends. Doug’s heart was always with the environment and the “critters.” He loved the outdoors, skiing, hiking, sailing, camping, horseback riding, and river running. He guided his own boat through the Grand Canyon four times.

Doug was born in Hackensack, NJ on September 21, 1941 to Frances Van Valkenburg and Robert T. Fraser. He spent his early years on Staten Island, later attending 12 schools in the western U.S. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy in Prescott, Arizona, in 1959. He worked at Friendly Pines Camp near Prescott as a counselor and wrangler after graduation.

Doug then returned to New Mexico, where his family had deep roots.  His great-grandfather, James Fraser, was a Presbyterian minister in Las Vegas from 1883-1888. Doug graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1964 and served as an Engineer for the New Mexico Highway Department and the New Mexico State Engineer’s Office, while attending UNM Law School. He received his Juris Doctor in 1971 and served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief Attorney for the, then, New Mexico Environmental Improvement Agency as well as the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board and the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission until 1977 when he became the City/County Attorney of Los Alamos. 

He served Los Alamos until 1985. In 1986 he became General Counsel to New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya. From 1987 to 1988, Doug served as Assistant City Attorney in Albuquerque. He then attended St. John’s College, and received an M.A. in 1990 from the Annapolis campus, when he entered private practice. That did not cause him to stop his public activities.  In 1991 he served as Administrative Assistant for the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department, and from 1994-95 he was Special Assistant to the Santa Fe City Attorney’s Office in the acquisition from PNM of the water system.

He served as a Lobbyist during legislative sessions from 1993 to 2011 for conservation and public interest organizations, including the Sierra Club and the New Mexico Credit Union Association. Beginning in 1970 as a law student intern, he worked as draftsman and lobbyist on many pieces of legislation dealing in zoning, environment (water, air, occupational health and safety, etc.), liquor, bonding, municipal ordinance development, and charter amendments. He was instrumental in the passage of the Hardrock Mining Act of 1993 and worked on Endangered Species and Tire Recycling Acts and Anti-SLAPP Suit legislation.

Doug joined the Sierra Club in 1977 and served it in various capacities. He was Chair of the Santa Fe Group from 1997-2004 and Chair of the Rio Grande Chapter from 2004-2006.

He joined the Del Norte Credit Union Board of Directors in 2001, and served as Vice Chair and Chair, retiring in 2013. In 2006, he became the founding Chair of Los Amigos de Valles Caldera, the friends group of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. He was serving in that capacity at the time of his death.

In between these activities, Doug realized another dream of his: to build his own “mud hut.” Doug’s modernized yet authentic adobe dream house is a beautiful tribute to his talents.

Doug married his wife, Kathleen, a retired teacher, in 1988. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frances and Robert, by his step-daughter, Sebastiana Amy Sloan, and by his aunt, Edna Holden. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, Laura Fraser of Los Alamos and Margaret Fraser of Arizona, his son-in-law Kirk Thompson of Los Alamos, and a number of cousins.

Doug will be remembered at a Memorial Service at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, 1601 S. Saint Francis Dr. in Santa Fe on Thursday, March 13, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor Doug by donating to Los Amigos de Valles Caldera ( or the environmental or animal protection organization of your choice. The family has entrusted their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home and Crematory of the Espanola Valley. You may leave your thoughts about Doug on their website,