Remembering Tom Frazier

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Donned in a cowboy hat and boots, opinionated when it really mattered, and passionate about his family and community, long-time city councilman and Salyersville business owner Tom Frazier had a presence to him that will be missed by many.

Tommy Gerald “Tom” Frazier passed away on Friday, September 29 at the age of 74. Born on the family farm in Dixie, as a kid he ran his own lawn business and worked in the family business at the Alamo theater. For a brief time he attended Millersburg Military Institute, then after his father passed away he returned home and graduated from Salyersville High School in 1961. He went on to graduate from Eastern Kentucky University and Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy in Atlanta.

After graduating pharmacy school, he worked for Prater Brothers Pharmacy for a short time before purchasing the pharmacy, now Frazier’s Prater Drug. He went on to own Parkway Pharmacy and Wolfe County Drug Store, both in Campton.

Having served on the Salyersville City Council for 27 years and owning the Frazier’s Prater Drug Store for over 40 years, Frazier was a Salyersville icon. He would show up to council meetings with his cowboy hat, cowboy boots, button-up shirt tucked in into blue jeans, and a smile for those around him. He didn’t speak up much in the meetings, but when he did it was always about something he felt would improve the city.

“He loved the city of Salyersville and was adamant about making it better,” Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd said. “He wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion and he was right most of the time. You couldn’t shake his opinion and you had to respect him for that.”

Shepherd said Frazier always wanted to see the city get 24-hour police protection (which Salyersville has, now) and a well-equipped fire department (with two fire trucks, currently, and an improved fire rating), as well as for the town to look nice so that when people came through Salyersville they would say, “That’s a nice-looking place. I’d like to live there,” which is why in recent years the city has pushed to add more flowers and nice signage in the downtown area. 

“He was very proud of Magoffin and Salyersville,” Shepherd said. “He hated politics and how it splits people. No matter who you are, he thought you should be able to work together.”

In his day-to-day, he owned and operated the drug store, with a restaurant inside, serving some food and ice cream, and was a known hang-out place downtown.

“If they didn’t own a car, they walked to the drug store just to hang out, so he knew everyone in town,” Shepherd said. “He knew their problems and was always willing to help the less fortunate. He was good-hearted and generous, always donating to sports programs at the high school and areas of need in the community. If someone couldn’t afford their medicine, he made sure they got what they needed.”

In the obituary written by Holly Cummings, she wrote, “There were numerous accounts on credit with no expectation he would be paid back. And as medicine was being passed across the counter, I have seen first-hand $50, $100 bills going with them to families in need.”

Frazier kept the store open until 6 p.m., then went to his home on Dixie, where he could enjoy being around his animals.

“He always had his Doberman Pinschers, horses, peacocks, had a beautiful fish pond with koi. He was an animal lover. He was in the cattle business and liked his farming and horseback riding,” Shepherd said.

Frazier liked to hunt – especially grouse hunting – and fish, going on fishing trips to Michigan to fish for walleye with former Mayor Tim Bostic.

In addition to the drug store and city council, Frazier was also one of the original members of the housing board and was instrumental in getting the Allen Drive apartments for Salyersville. He was a member of the Magoffin County Health Board, a board member of Big Sandy Healthcare, a Shriner, a JayCee, member of the Kiwanis, and a 32nd degree Mason. He was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by former Governor Bert T. Combs in 1969.

“He was a great family man and a pillar to the community and he’ll be missed, for sure,” Shepherd said.

Frazier is survived by his wife, Patricia Arnett Frazier, two sons, Forrest Wade Frazier and Trenton Gerald Frazier, and daughter Rebekah Rudd, as well as four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Cricket and Alma Arnett Frazier, and his brother, Phillip Frazier. His funeral was held on Tuesday, though the full obituary is available on page A4.