Fraser, Fil

Celebration of Life

Friday, March 23, 2:00 – 5:00 PM
Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Obituary

Fil Fraser 1932-2017 

Dr. Felix (Fil) Blache-Fraser passed away peacefully on December 3, 2017, with his wife Gladys at his bedside. Born August 19, 1932 in Montreal, he was 85.

In life, Fil was a pioneering broadcaster, film and television producer, writer, educator and human rights advocate who contributed immeasurably to the city of Edmonton and to Canadian society.

From age 19, Fil set off on a broadcast career that spanned more than five decades. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1990 as Canada’s first black broadcaster.

Edmonton became his beloved hometown in 1965. His ideas and energy helped to shape city and provincial cultural life. His warm voice could be heard for many years as host of several radio and television programs. He produced four films, founded film festivals and taught cinema.

Writing was also a passion and Fil tackled important subjects in countless columns, articles and in three books. Alberta’s Camelot, his book about Peter and Jeanne Lougheed’s support for the arts in Alberta, was an Edmonton best-seller.

In 2015, Fil was thrilled to receive the Alberta Order of Excellence for his contributions to the arts.

Fil also shaped public policy through his service to many boards and commissions, including as Chief Commissioner of Alberta’s Human Rights Commission from 1989 to 1992.

Fil and Gladys, his wife of 35 years, loved Edmonton, and spent many evenings at the symphony and theatre. Fil also adored Edmonton’s festivals, the ever-thriving arts scene around Sir Winston Churchill Square and walks in the city’s parks.

Fil Fraser is survived by his wife, Gladys Odegard; his children and their families Randall (wife Margaret Field), Tanice and her children Alex and Julien, Kathryn (companion Anthony Pavlic) and her son Tané, and his son David Dutton-Fraser; his brothers Stan (wife Louise), Ron (husband Nairton Falçao); sister Shirleen; his brothers’ children and grandchildren; his step-children and their partners: Leah Jarvis (husband Jon) and their children Emma and Dylan; and Christine McNab (partner Julia Cabassi). Fil is pre-deceased by his parents Felix and Marguerite Blache-Fraser; his sister, Roslynn; his brother Frank (wife Donna), and his brother Russell (wife Susan). The family would also like to acknowledge and send love to Randall’s sisters Kim Howell-Costion, Bonnie Sorenson and Judy Sorenson.

The family are grateful for the messages of condolence and memories shared. The family are also thankful for the care Fil received from Anita D’Mello and staff at the Devonshire Care Centre and to Merlyn Agpoon, a longstanding care-giver for Fil at his home.

Fil’s life will be celebrated with a public memorial in Edmonton in the spring of 2018.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to AMPIA: info@ampia.org or tel 1 (780) 944-0707 ext 3.

Published in The Edmonton Journal on Dec. 9, 2017

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Club Biography

Born Felix Fraser, Fil’s lively career has had many facets, including those of broadcaster, journalist, TV Director and Administrator, as well as Radio, TV and Film Producer. Based in Edmonton, he is the author of the best selling memoir Alberta’s Camelot — Culture and the Arts in the Lougheed Years.

Fil began broadcasting as a radio operator at CKFH, Toronto, in 1951. He has since been associated with twelve different radio and TV stations across Canada, from Alberta to Quebec.

Turning to journalism in 1960, he founded and published the Regina Weekly Mirror, which chronicled the introduction of Medicare by the Tommy Douglas government. Between 1963 and ’69, Fil was a writer/editor and health educator concerning alcohol and addictions in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

In 1969 he joined MEETA, forerunner of Alberta?s Access TV Network, as Program Manager. In 1976 he produced the feature film Why Shoot the Teacher, followed in 1997 by Marie Anne, and in 1980 The Hounds of Notre Dame. All were award winners. In 1974, he organized and chaired the first Alberta Film Festival (Ampia Awards) in which his films later won several prizes. He chaired the first Commonwealth Games Festival in 1978, and in 1979 was a founder of the Banff International Television Festival.

Fil has taught extension courses on a wide range of subjects at universities in Regina and Edmonton. He has also published many articles and stories in newspapers, magazines and journals Fraser has received many awards and honours in the fields of film, television and public service. In 1991, he was inducted into the Order of Canada.

Fil is a member of the Boards of a number of national and regional non-profit organizations. In September, 2001, he delivered the inaugural lecture of the Fil Fraser Lecture Series, presented annually by the Canadian Association of Black Journalists.

He considers the highlights of his career were hosting a talk-back show on CJCA, Edmonton, 1974-1979; the Fil Fraser Show on ITV in 1974 and 1975; his appointment to the Federal Task force on Broadcasting; and his term as CEO of Vision TV, 1995-2000.

filed 2006