We are saddened to share the news that retired staff member Dennis Frazier, who worked in Human Resources and Facilities Management and Services for a combined 24 years, passed away August 25. He was 80 years old.
Born in Berkeley on December 11, 1942, Frazier grew up in Brentwood on his grandfather’s farm and orchard. He graduated from Willow Glen High School in 1960 and joined the US Air Force, serving from 1961–65. After he completed his service, he launched a lawn care business and attended San Jose Community College and later Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He went on to complete a master’s degree in urban studies from Occidental College.
Introduced to the California public sector labor movement during a year-long internship with the Coro Foundation, he joined the Orange County Employees Association in Santa Ana and later became a labor relations specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In 1980, Frazier was hired at Chico State as a human resource generalist, and he eventually became the director of the department and a labor relations designee. Known for his tall stature and kind demeanor, he stayed at the University for 22 years before retiring in 2002 due to health issues. Seven years after retirement, Frazier accepted an opportunity to return to campus and worked for two more years as interim director of Facilities Management and Services.
A “good guy” to everyone he worked with, Frazier was beloved across campus, colleagues recall. Teresa Miller, director of budget and operations for Information Technology, worked in payroll during his tenure, and remembers vividly his sharp sense of humor as well as other endearing qualities.
“He was always respectful and put everyone at ease,” she said.
As an administrator, Frazier served the best interest of his colleagues, staff, and faculty, upholding the University’s guiding principles and mission with integrity and understanding. He was a natural problem-solver with a pragmatic approach, and though he took his responsibilities seriously, he remained good-natured and welcoming to everyone he worked with.
“He knew the rules, but he knew how to use them with compassion,” said Jackie McClain, vice chancellor emeritus for the California State University. “Away from campus, his commitment to Special Olympics was another reflection of his caring personality.”
Retired payroll supervisor Jane Cleland also recalls Frazier’s ability to bring levity and fun into each work day.
“He cared about people and tried very hard to be a good boss and employee,” said Cleland. “Even after we both left the University, he would always say ‘Hi’ and stop for a visit.”
After retiring for the second time, Frazier focused on family, friends, faith, and his hobbies. He sang in the church choir and taught Sunday school to first- and second-graders. He also loved gardening the most colorful flowers he could find, and eating out with big groups of friends and family at the best restaurants around town.
Frazier is survived by his wife of 58 years, Beverly Jean, and his two children.
The University flag will be lowered Tuesday, October 25, in his memory.