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Rob Fraser, Longtime Hasty Pudding Steward, Remembered as ‘Genuine,’ ‘Caring,’ and ‘Fun-Loving’

Robert D. Fraser, a longtime steward at the Hasty Pudding Institute, died earlier this month at age 54.
Robert D. Fraser, a longtime steward at the Hasty Pudding Institute, died earlier this month at age 54. By Jonathan G. Yuan
By Vivi E. Lu and Christine Mui, Crimson Staff Writers

When Lucy R. Golub ’20 was first introduced to Robert D. Fraser — one of the Hasty Pudding Institute’s stewards — during her freshman year, she remembers being told, “​​Rob’s the best, you’re going to love him.”

“And it was true,” Golub said.

“What made him so special and good at his role is that he really got to know everyone on an individual level,” she said. “He made me feel like he really cared about me and my well-being and my success.”

Golub said she remembers mentioning a small personal issue to Fraser in passing. The next morning, he texted her to check how she was doing.

Robert D. Fraser died earlier this month in a car accident.
Robert D. Fraser died earlier this month in a car accident. By Courtesy of Brandon K. Fraser

“He just knew that it was bothering me and wanted to make sure that I was okay. And that’s so indicative of the type of guy that he was,” Golub said.

Fraser died earlier this month, the day after his 54th birthday, in a car accident. Brandon K. Fraser, his nephew, estimated that 50 Harvard affiliates attended visiting hours Monday evening, many wearing New England Patriots gear to celebrate Fraser’s love of the team.

In addition to serving as a steward at the Pudding for the past decade, Fraser worked at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Gutman Library and in the Harvard mailrooms.

Brandon Fraser recalled his uncle describing his role at the Pudding as “one of his favorite jobs.”

“He was actually passionate about it,” he said. “He would talk about just how much he loved the kids and how much he loved the spot.”

William M. Granger ’22, general manager of the Harvard Krokodiloes, the Hasty Pudding Institute’s acapella group, said Fraser “never took himself too seriously.”

“He’s a big Pats fan, big NFL fan,” he said. “Attending his memorial today, it’s not black tie — it’s everyone wearing their favorite Pats gear.”

Besides watching the Patriots, Fraser spent his time playing golf and fantasy football, making art, and watching Anna Kendrick movies, according to those close to him.

Pam McCutcheon, who met Fraser roughly 10 years ago when beginning her job as steward of the Pudding, called him a “very friendly, warm, welcoming person.”

“Rob was the kind of guy that would come in on his day off to show movies with the kids,” she said. “If he thought that he could even make two brand new freshmen feel like they had some place to go on Tuesday night, he was going to come in on his night off and he was going to be there.”

Maureen Clare ’24 described Fraser’s role in the organization as “a proponent of and defender of the happiness of everyone around him.” She said she remembered walking away from conversations with Fraser as a freshman and thinking, “Well, if that guy likes me, I’m doing something right.”

“I remember feeling like I could be comfortable and be myself for maybe one of the first times my freshman year on campus,” Clare said.

When she thinks back to her favorite memory of Fraser, Clare said she remembers him sitting by her side, cracking jokes as she watched her first horror movie during one of the Pudding’s movie nights.

“It was a terrifying, dreadful hour-and-a-half. I only remember laughing now because of him,” she said. “It takes a very special person to get me to sit through that.”

Granger said Fraser was “incredibly caring” and “easy to talk to,” whether he saw him at the clubhouse or in the Kirkland House mailroom.

“Rob was one of the only people that you developed a relationship with who was a mentor for your entire college time,” Granger said.

Ishaan Prasad ’22, the former president of the Hasty Pudding Club, said the club held a “get-together” where members could pay tribute to Fraser.

“Every single person I talked to was like, ‘yeah, the moment he met me, and I told him [my] name, from then on, he never once asked again,’” Prasad said.

“He really is a genuine, caring, fun-loving guy,” he added.

A day after Fraser’s death, five Harvard alumni organized a GoFundMe fundraiser that has raised over $26,000 to support Fraser’s family and “memorialize him within the Hasty Pudding Clubhouse.”

“He really gave us a lot more than he needed to. And so it’s only fair and good that we try to assist the family in any way we can,” said Grant A. Meiners ’22-’23, a member of the Krokodiloes.

“Even separate from the fundraising efforts for his family, I think the Pudding is looking at ways to memorialize and commemorate Rob’s life and all that he did for everyone in the Harvard community,” Prasad said. “Folks really do want to make sure that for the rest of time, we remember Rob for all that he did.”

Brandon Fraser said that he and his family are in “complete awe, and just filled with gratitude” after seeing the outpour of support.

“To see students and staff members and random people be so generous … kind of just shows and reaffirms what we know of him,” he said.

Fraser is survived by his mother, brother, nephews, niece, and great-nieces.

“We would all consider Rob as a type of glue to our family structure,” Brandon Fraser said. “Our whole entire family is originally from Cambridge. And through the years, everybody’s moved to either down south or north.”

“Rob was the guy that made it everywhere. And he’ll be widely missed,” he added.

Flowers, candles, and a photo of Fraser adorned the steps of the Hasty Pudding clubhouse within hours of his death.

“It’s very touching to see,” McCutcheon said. “I knew how many lives he was touching with us, but when you think of it, we were just a little tiny piece of his life.”

—Staff writer Vivi E. Lu can be reached at vivi.lu@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Christine Mui can be reached at christine.mui@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @MuiChristine.

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