Dr William Alexander Fraser
William Alexander Fraser (known as Bill) was born in Hamilton on 15 July 1924, the son of Dr TC (Tam) and Madge Alexander Fraser. He was educated at Southwell School and at King’s College, where he was a prefect and member of the First XV. He went to Otago medical school. Despite his later lean build, he played as a prop in the university rugby team, gained his blue, and represented South Island Universities XV. He graduated MB ChB in 1947, taking the Stanley Batchelor Memorial Prize for Clinical Surgery.
His junior doctor years were spent in Auckland. Initially planning to specialise in Medicine, he was called back to Hamilton to help out with his father’s practice because of the latter’s illness. Initially in general practice with a high obstetric caseload, he took his Diploma on Obstetrics in Auckland. He was encouraged to specialise in O&G with the return of his old friend Bob Gudex to Hamilton. He went first to National Women’s Hospital and obtained his MRCOG in 1961. After some time in England, he returned to his family and joined practice in association with Bob Gudex. A part-time position in O&G at Waikato Hospital followed. The Gudex & Fraser team (‘Bill & Bob’) was a powerful unit. Both were highly energetic and productive, and innovative surgeons, as well as attracting a large patient load. Both were popular practitioners, and keen to teach and encourage their juniors.
In addition to clinical work, Bill was involved with the local O&G Society, a member of the Waikato Area Health Board service development committee, and a member of a Medical Advisory Committee formed to assist and advise the Medical Superintendent of Waikato Hospital. He was a member of the Maternity Benefits Tribunal.
He became FRCOG in 1977 and was a Foundation Fellow of the New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (later Royal) when it was formed in 1982. He was head of the O&G service at Waikato Hospital from 1980 until 1988. A particular expertise was developed in the surgery of urinary incontinence.
He had wide interests apart from medicine, in particular horticulture, being prominent in camellia and rhododendron organisations, and later cattle breeding. He was knowledgeable in many subjects, from bees to electronics to cars. He had a series of exotic cars long before they became readily available in New Zealand. He was a hero and role model to a generation of young doctors.
In 1953, he and Judith Allan were married in Ashburton. They had four children: Alastair (a Taupo GP), Jane, Kate (both nurses), and David (chemical engineer, later finance). There are eleven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. A private ceremony was held to commemorate his long life after he died on 24 November 2020, aged 96.
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