Ralph Frazer, W7AHC, SK
Ralph was one of two amateur radio operators that I knew as a boy 30 years ago in Boise, ID. I recall his enthusiasm for the hobby while sitting in his shack. I remember looking at his QSL cards and hearing stories about the operators he would contact around the world. He would pass the mic over to me so I could speak to voices in foreign countries. At the time, I did not appreciate what was happening. It wasn't until I left for college that the seeds he planted in me grew and I decided to get into the hobby. When I received my technicians ticket I passed on the information to him through my parents. Then every time I saw him he would ask me what I was doing with the hobby. Not only was he a good ham, but he as a good man who loved his wife and family. I have a tender spot in my heart for him.
-Lance Homer K7LQH
My Condolences, God Comfort you in your time of loss.
1920 - 2012 Ralph Fennemore Welch Frazer age 92, slipped peacefully away on July 23, 2012 at home, surrounded by his family who loved him and devoted caregiver, Seth. Ralph's successful and adventurous life began on March 1, 1920 in Oakland, California.
The first son born to Myrtle Higley and George Weaver Welch. Ralph began his early years of education in Salt Lake City, Utah and it was during these formative years that he became knowledgeable in, and developed a life-long hobby of radios and electronic communications.
The family moved to Boise in 1936, and Ralph graduated from Boise High School in 1938.
During the summer of 1939, Ralph read an advertisement for 'extras' needed in a movie being produced in McCall, Idaho. The film "Northwest Passage", starred Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, and Walter Brennan. Being paid a wage of $5.00 per day, Ralph was hired to play parts as a Ranger and Indian.
In the spring of 1941 a student at Boise Jr. College, Ralph was volunteering to sell ads in the annual yearbook, when he met Mr. Harry Morrison of Morrison-Knudson. A worldwide Boise construction firm. After a brief meeting, Ralph was asked about his training and background. Mr. Morrison was impressed with his response and self-confidence.
Mr. Morrison looked at the map of the Pacific Islands, including Wake, Johnson, Guam, Midway, and Pearl Harbor. Ralph was hired to travel to Midway Island and work on transmitters and as an electrician. On December 7, 1941, war was declared on the Japanese and Ralph's duties included repairing the damage inflicted upon Midway Island.
He was sent to Pearl Harbor and put in charge of all communications of the tugboats and the base transmitter because he had his amateur radio license. His job was to make sure there was communications between each of the tugboats ship-to-shore and base-to-base.
The military came calling and in July 1942 Ralph enlisted as an Army Private. With the need for Class A amateur license operators, he was transferred to the Army Air Corps and after several weeks of training, Ralph was stationed near the Amazon in both Talara and Equitos, Peru.
He quickly became fluent in the Spanish language and was set up in a hotel room transmitting and receiving coded messages using his Morse code expertise.
At the end of his service and with an honorable discharge, Ralph finished his education at Boise Jr. College and with his brother, Clary, the two decided to use the G.I. Bill to further their education. With extended family living in the Republic of South Africa, the two agreed to study international business at the University of Witwatersrand in Johanhannesburg. Ralph's first job was working for the Coca-Cola Company and was hired to be a Public Relations expert promoting the soft drink to cafes and restaurants in the area.
Ralph soon discovered that there were no American hamburgers on any menu and few understood the unique sandwich concept. He resigned from his P.R. Position and shortly thereafter in 1948 he and his brother opened the first American "Hamburger Hut'. Working in conjunction with the local bakeries, the "bun" was created and the business took off. Ralph and Clary opened a total of five restaurants and one bakery. He became known as the HAMBURGER KING of South Africa.
He returned briefly to the states and married his sweetheart, Patricia Sutton of Idaho Falls, Idaho on June 25, 1950. Together, they began their married life in Pretoria, South Africa and in 1953 welcomed their first child, Darcie Ann. After several business related conflicts with the Afrikaans Political Party, Ralph sold his successful business ventures and returned to the States for the last time in 1954.
Ralph went to work for KBOI Channel 2 and was hired to sell television and radio spots. In 1961 and with the support of his wife, Ralph purchased 6 acres of an open alfalfa cornfield located at 9400 Fairview Ave. in Boise. At a cost of $5,000.00 per acre, the land was developed and in the spring of that year, Idaho's first Country Western Radio Station KATN on the 1010 AM dial began broadcasting. Within the next several years Ralph filed for Boise's first F.M. Station and used the call letters, KBBK.
Additionally, he created and successfully ran Valley Background Music Co., Treasure Valley Broadcasting Co., and Valley Sound systems for 25 years. Ralph served on many civic and governmental boards and associations, including 16 years in the Boise Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Boise Auditorium District where he led the way for the Boise Centre on The Grove. Elected to the Boise City Council in 1966, he worked to develop the Boise Greenbelt and chaired the committee that brought the first cable TV system to the area. In 2003 Ralph was honored as a winner of Boise State's Distinguished Alumni by the university's Alumni Association. Ralph was an avid fisherman, hunter, and mechanic.
He could 'fix anything broken', loved to talk on his Ham Radio using his call letters; W7AHC and was an excellent conversationalist and Harmonica player.
He loved life and offered his many talents to all who knew him. He developed the gift for taking photos and making family movies as part of his family history. He was an accomplished gardener and grew vegetables with his favorite being Banana and Hubbard squash.
He was most proud of his family and their accomplishments in the church and in life. He was a True and Faithful father and husband; provider and protector. Ralph was a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served in multiple callings and as a faithful Home Teacher. He is preceded in death by his brother; Clarence, sister; Myrna Jean Pratt and great-granddaughter, Adalyn Fieldz Meyer. Ralph is survived by his eternal sweetheart of 62 years, Patricia; three daughters; Darcy Ann Winegar; (husband Leonard of Bountiful, Utah), Zebby Lynn Anderson; (Bountiful, Utah) Laurie Lee Meyer; (husband Paul of Boise), son Bradlee Ralph (wife Wendy of Meridian). Thirteen grand-children and eleven great-grandchildren. Dad and grandpa will be greatly missed, You Are Our Sunshine. Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 28th at 12:00 noon at the LDS Stake Center, 1111 S. Cole Rd in Boise. There will be a viewing on Friday July 27th from 6-8 pm at Relyea Funeral Home, 318 N. Latah St. in Boise and from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. prior to services on Saturday. Burial will be at Morris Hill Cemetery.
73 K2HAT Lee
Last edited by K2HAT; 07-26-2012 at 10:17 PM.
Ralph was a well-known broadcast pioneer in Boise, Idaho. From the History of Idaho Broadcasting site we have this tribute --