Dr. Laurence Fraher
FRAHER, Dr. Laurence John - Surrounded by family and friends at University Hospital, on Friday, March 15, 2019, at the age of 63. Devoted, harmonious, and giving husband of Darien. Loving, guiding and nurturing father of Declán. Beloved son of Bridget and the late John, devoted son-in-law to Daniel and Thérèse. Cherished brother of Geraldine, Virginia and the late Anne Marie, caring brother-in-law to Andrea & Ian, Ann & Hervé, Dominique & Gordon. Loving uncle to Jade & Tara, Amber, Sophie, Kenneth, William, Natasha and Clara.
Although he was highly intelligent and successful as a scientist, he was very humble and used his gifts selflessly to help others. Laurence had a big heart and will be fondly remembered for his tireless devotion, encouragement and mentorship to all the students he felt privileged to teach, his colleagues and especially his grad students at the Lawson Institute. Family was most important to him and he was dedicated to creating time for family dinners every day and always a special Sunday roast. He loved spending quality family time in the country with Daniel & Thérèse and really enjoyed engaging in stimulating discussions of philosophy, politics and cooking with Thérèse. This extended to his neighbours, friends and many kindred spirits at Joe Kool’s who shared a love of companionship, baseball, European football, politics, philosophy, and those who really knew what it meant to be Irish. He loved cooking and would create memorable feasts for family, intimate groups of friends or a hundred friends, neighbours and colleagues on his 5 BBQs in the back garden. He had a talent for bringing diverse people together and creating an atmosphere to foster special relationships and dialogues which would never have happened otherwise.
This spirit was reflected in a St. Patrick’s Day wake held at his home to honour Laurence and celebrate his life. The house was full to bursting with people, music, food and drink, from noon to midnight. So many people came and stayed for hours to share their inner feelings with old friends and even with people they had never met before. The event was a miracle of reciprocity created by his friends who did for him, in kind, what he had always done for them. The overwhelming flow of love and support, fellowship and harmony was a true reflection of the special relationship he had with all he encountered, which in reality became a tribute to Laurence; it was a blessing.
The funeral service will be conducted at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church, 1246 Oxford St. W., London, ON, on Saturday March 23, 2019 at 10:30am. A reception will be held at the Church after the ceremony. Cremation to follow.
Memorial contributions to The London Singers would be appreciated.
March 20, 2019, 8:10 am
My deepest sympathies to you on the loss of your dear husband, sincerely Ellen Rosen
March 20, 2019, 10:42 pm
I am so sad to learn of your great loss. May happy memories of Laurence live on in your heart and Declan’s. Sending you hugs.
March 22, 2019, 8:08 pm
Our family is so deeply saddened to learn of the loss of dear Larry. One of the the most genuine souls I have had the privilege to call my friend. Though we had not seen one another for sometime, I am flooded with joyous memories, especially, getting to know Larry when he first arrived in Canada. I am so thankful for the many hours of laughter, and some serious debates we shared. Our thoughts are with with you Darien and Declan at this very difficult time. Love Richard, Krista and Judy.
March 23, 2019, 8:09 am
Deepest condolences. A wonderful fellow. Never met a wiser person. Cherish the memories.
March 23, 2019, 8:33 am
Dear Darien: I was saddened to hear of your loss. Laurence will be missed by all but always loved, and never forgotten. Hugs & Prayers
Dr. Anthony Hodsman
March 26, 2019, 4:07 pm
Sadly, Laurence John Fraher died on March 15, after a short illness with unsuspected intra-abdominal cancer. He was only 63 years old, and several serious health issues marked his last years. I lost a dear friend and a much-respected colleague; he and I were amongst the founding scientific community when “The Lawson” was brought into being at St. Joseph’s Health Care London.
Laurence was a large “presence” in the halls of that building. I have memories of him striding into work, wearing his signature black topcoat and trilby hat; coffee was convened at 10:30 a.m. sharp where his colleagues gathered to share his home-cooked treats and his biting, acerbic wit. No one who knew him will forget his insightful intellect, whether discussing - with erudition - experimental problems with the students or the politics of the day. He was a superb cook and legendary host to all and sundry at his home.
Laurence obtained his PhD and post-doctoral training in vitamin D biochemistry at the University of London, and specifically at my alma mater, the Middlesex Hospital, under the direction of the late Professor O’Riordan. I recruited him in 1985 to run our Skeletal Metabolism Laboratory at Lawson. The field was just exploding with new advances as modern technology unlocked some of the skeleton’s secrets. Laurence brought his insights into skeletal biology, and allowed us to lay some of the crucial basic and clinical groundwork for the clinical use of parathyroid hormone as an anabolic agent in the treatment of osteoporosis. He recognized early on that vitamin D played an important role as an immune modulator and pursued that in collaboration with Drs. McFadden, Lewis, Veldhuizen and the respiratory medicine group at Lawson.
Laurence had an intrinsic ability to bring the tools of a basic scientist to the field of clinical investigation. In his own words, his scientific contributions “included both describing that which is normal, as well as those investigations which are designed to uncover the mechanisms involved in many bone diseases; these have included the roles of vitamin D and parathyroid hormone in rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis.”
By the time of his early retirement in 2011, he was a full Professor at Western University and had taught many post-graduate students, as well as being a highly regarded teacher in the undergraduate programs of the Departments of Biochemistry and Medicine at Western University. He had a long history of service to the MRC/CIHR, serving on its Respiratory Systems Committee where he acted as a long-standing committee member as well as both its Scientific Officer and its Chair. He had also served as a Member for the College of Reviewers, Canada’s Research Chairs.
Laurence was truly one-of-a-kind and we will remember him; sadly I bid him a final farewell with heartfelt thanks for his contributions.
Dr. Anthony Hodsman, MD
Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine, Western University
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute
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