CONCORD — Leo Fraser, who represented Laconia in the New Hampshire Senate from 1991 until 2002, passed away at the age of 86 on Friday, Aug. 9.
Born in Boston in 1926, Fraser graduated from the High School of Commerce and Northeastern College before earning his law degree at the New England School of Law. He served in the Marine Corps between 1944 and 1946 and was stationed in the Far East in the aftermath of World War II.
Returning to Boston, Fraser went to work in the insurance industry as a claims adjuster at Gordon Boyd & Company. In 1970, Fraser, his wife Susan and growing family moved to New Hampshire, where he served as Insurance Commissioner until 1976, when he formed Fraser Insurance Services, a claims business still owned and operated by the family on Green Street in Concord.
The Frasers settled in Pittsfield where he served as town moderator and selectman before representing the town as a Republican member of the New Hampshire of Representatives for four terms. As a member and chairman of the House Commerce Committee he played a major role in the overhaul of banking regulation during the 1980s.
Elected to the New Hampshire Senate in the midst of a severe recession, Fraser lent his knowledge and experience of the financial services industry to a series of economic development initiatives pursued by the Senate. When Gov. Jeanne Shaheen chose not to close the Lakes Region Facility (prison) in Laconia as scheduled, Fraser, together with city officials, chiefly then-Mayor Matt Lahey and City Manager Dan McKeever, mounted a determined effort to secure compensation for the city, which culminated in the creation of the Robbie Mills Sports Complex on state land leased for 99 years at a $1 a year.
Fraser was predeceased by Susan, his wife of 48 years, in 1998 and is survived by 10 children, including his son, Mark of Laconia, 20 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two sisters.