Nothing can replace the kind of love that persists and flourishes for 43 years, but William Fraser has found a way to preserve the name and memory of his late wife, Catherine Griffin Fraser.

Fraser recently established the William D. and Catherine Griffin Fraser Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation to make possible an annual scholarship and grants to the Olean General Hospital Foundation’s St. Francis Fund.

For Fraser, the fund is a tribute to their long and successful marriage and his wife’s dedication to doing good in the community.

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Fraser established the fund to support causes dear to both him and his wife, Catherine, who passed away in 2015 following a battle with lung disease.

Catherine worked at St. Francis Hospital for 26 years, working from ward clerk to an administrative assistant. She was also a risk manager at both St. Francis and Olean General Hospital.

Additionally, she worked for Olean Medical Group, Community Bank, the United Way of Cattaraugus County and the CUTCO Visitors Center. She was the first director of the Bartlett House and Museum.

“Cathy and I had 43 good years together,” Fraser stated. “She loved working on any worthwhile cause, and helping others in the medical field was her passion.”

Mr. Fraser worked at Olean High School for 23 years, first as an American history teacher and later as a school counselor. He later was a field rep for the National Education Association of New York and the New York State Union of Teachers.

Fraser also taught at St. Bonaventure University in the graduate program for students interested in becoming school counselors and at Jamestown Community College after retirement.

The Fraser Fund’s purpose combines the passions of both.                                      

The fund will make possible an annual scholarship of $1,000, renewable up to four years, for graduating Cattaraugus and Allegany County students, with preference for students from Olean High School or Cuba-Rushford Central School. Students planning to attend a four-year college are preferred. Two-year college attendees will also be considered.

Other majors will be considered, but preference is for students interested in a career in the medical field or education.

The recipient must be in good academic standing. Financial need will be considered. Award amount and number of awards may vary.

The fund will also make an annual grant to Olean General Hospital to perpetuate the legacy and mission of St. Francis Hospital and its administrative team, including Catherine Fraser, Sister Mary Croghan and Sister Cindy Matthews. Grants to the St Francis Fund will support the caring tradition of St. Francis Hospital through funding programs, services or equipment purchases at Olean General.

“Both Cathy and I loved living and working here in Olean and at Cuba Lake,” Fraser said. “This fund is a way to leave a legacy in this geographic area that is so special to us.”

“When talking to Bill, it is clear how much the time with his wife means to him, and this fund embodies that,” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “Together they gave so much of their time and talents and made very generous monetary contributions to causes in the community.”

“The community mattered greatly to them, and the way that Bill is honoring Catherine by making that generosity permanent with this endowment is really beautiful,” Buchheit concluded.

Donations can be made to the William D. and Catherine Griffin Fraser Fund at CRCF, 301 North Union St., Suite 203, or online at cattfoundation.org.

Established in 1994, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email foundation@cattfoundation.org, or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).