Married 75 years, Jim and Kate Frazier, both 94, were headed from a lunch date on Monday when their car ran off a road only a few miles from their Mount Holly home.
Both were killed.
On Thanksgiving, family members will remember a loving, hardworking couple who stuck close to their textile roots.
“They were happily married for 75 years, had lunch together that day and passed together,” Ronald Frazier said of his parents. “I take some comfort in that.”
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Mount Holly police reported the vehicle that Jim Frazier was driving ran off the left side of East Charlotte Avenue at 1:53 p.m. and went down an embankment, landing in a creek. Kate Frazier was pronounced dead at the scene and Jim Frazier died later at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia.
Mount Holly Police Chief Don Roper said Wednesday that investigators are looking into the possibility that Jim Frazier experienced some type of medical problem.
Relatives said the Fraziers enjoyed going out for hamburgers. It was a chance for Kate Frazier, who had dementia, to leave the house for a while, Ronald Frazier said.
Jim Frazier worked for more than 40 years in North Belmont’s Acme Mill; Kate Frazier had also worked there.
The Acme Mill Village was the center of their world for decades. Jim Frazier grew up in the village, just minutes from the textile plant where both of his parents had also worked.
The couple were already married, and Jim had a job at Acme when he joined the Marines during World War II.
It would be a long separation for the couple.
When Jim Frazier landed on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima in February 1945, one of his brothers, Paul, was also with the invasion force.
That epic battle would deliver a devastating blow to the family.
An exploding mortar spewed shrapnel into Jim Frazier’s legs and chest. Recovering from serious injuries on a hospital ship, he didn’t know that his brother, also wounded in battle, had died on the same vessel. Paul was buried at sea.
Ronald Frazier said shrapnel from Iwo Jima remained in his father’s body.
“It bothered him,” he said. “But he lived with it.”
Coming home from the war, Jim Frazier returned to Acme Mill but remained in the Marine reserves. He got called to active duty during the Korean War and was an instructor at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.
“He was a very committed and dedicated Marine,” Ronald Frazier said.
Jim and Kate Frazier had three sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The couple enjoyed going to the beach, gardening and staying active in Centerview Baptist Church, where they taught Sunday school and sang in the choir.
“They were wonderful people and dear friends,” said the Rev. Robbie Moore, pastor at Centerview. “We’re very thankful for both of them. They loved each other, they loved the church and they set a great example. We’ll miss them.”
When Jim Frazier retired from Acme Mill, he got a part-time job at Jones Supermarket in Mount Holly and later at the Mount Holly Food Lion. For the last several years, he’d looked after his wife.
A service to celebrate the Fraziers’ lives will be 11 a.m. Friday at Centerview Baptist Church in Belmont.
Looking back on their lives, family members recall fond details.
Ronald Frazier remembers his mother’s banana pudding at Thanksgiving.
Bill Frazier recalls his older brother bringing over a bag of tomatoes from his garden.
“He was proud of those tomatoes,” Frazier said. “And they were good.”
Reflecting on Monday’s fatal accident, he said “I think it’s just a blessing for both of them that they went together. I’m not sure if either one could have lived apart.”