Woodstock remembers Ron Fraser, city councillor and former police chief

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Ron Fraser, a former Woodstock police chief and city councillor, is being remembered as a leader with a deep passion for the community he served for more than four decades.

Fraser, a sitting city councillor, died Sunday at the age of 71. He was a 34-year veteran of the Woodstock Police Service, a former police chief and a two-term Woodstock councillor.

Woodstock Mayor Trevor Birtch shared his deep appreciation for Fraser in a Monday statement announcing his death.

“He truly was a man we trusted,and I personally valued his support. The devotion he demonstrated is an inspiration to all,” Birtch said. “He has been a voice of reason and will truly be missed by all who knew him.”

Fraser was council’s deputy mayor for 2021, and flags at Woodstock City Hall have been lowered in recognition of his death.

Fraser retired in 2009 after 34 years with the Woodstock Police Service. He served as a city councillor from 2010 to 2014 and was again elected in 2018 after leaving the 2014 race with a cancer diagnosis.


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Woodstock police Chief Daryl Longworth, who served under Fraser, said he was “one of the kindest men” he had ever known.

“He led through serving those who worked for him. … Officers, including myself, followed him not because of his rank, not because he was the boss, but because he was just such a nice man,” said Longworth, crediting Fraser with his own development as a police leader.

“He dealt with a number of difficult investigations and stressful situations throughout his career but I never saw him lose his cool and regardless of what was going on. He always had time to listen because he genuinely cared for the people who worked for him.”

Fraser was a popular city councillor, garnering the second-largest share of the city vote in the 2018 election.

“It tells me the community hasn’t forgotten me and had faith in what I stood for and spoke for on their behalf,” Fraser told the Sentinel-Review in a 2018 profile of his election win. “I think people remember I care and I’m a good communicator. I listen to everyone and I care about people, and I think people understand that.”

Coun. Connie Lauder served with Fraser on the police services board when he was police chief, as well as on the current city council. Actually distant cousins who grew up just a few kilometres apart in Embro, Fraser always greeted Lauder with calls of “Hey, cuz,” she said.

“He was a pillar of the community. He was such a caring person for everyone. You could always go to Ron for help and he would be there for you,” Lauder said. “He was always fair.”


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Fraser had been open about his battles with cancer since his first diagnosis in 2014 and again in 2020. Council colleagues said he was dedicated to his work on council, even scheduling chemotherapy appointments so as not to miss a meeting.

Coun. Deb Tait said Fraser had a passion for the community that was fostered and inspired by his long career in policing and continued after his retirement from the force. He also volunteered with local Rotary clubs, the South Gate Centre and local dragon boating, on top of his work as a city councillor.

Tait“He was a great guy, very community-oriented,” said, noting Fraser had four children and two step-children with whom he was very close. “He was all about his family, that was the biggest thing. He was always talking about his kids. … That’s something that shows his character, his kids.”

Fraser had a particular passion for the city’s downtown core and sat as council’s representative to the Downtown Woodstock Business Improvement Area, she said.

“He always voted because it was the right thing, and that made the difference for people,” Tait said. “When you’re genuine like that and you give so much to the community, it’s what people see.”

Fraser’s wife of 22 years, Elaina Taylor, died in February 2020 at the age of 56. Also a member of the Woodstock Police Service for more than 30 years, she served the last portion of her career in the domestic abuse services division.

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