Fraser, F. Clarke, 1920-

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Fraser, F. Clarke, 1920-

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F. (Frank) Clarke Fraser was an early pioneer of medical genetics in Canada. Born 29 March 1920 in Norwich, Connecticut, to parents Annie Louise (Clarke) Fraser and Frank Wise Fraser, F. Clarke Fraser grew up chiefly in Jamaica, but returned to Nova Scotia, where his material grandfather lived, for his studies. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Acadia University in 1940. Upon graduation, he attended McGill University for a Master of Science. Following graduate, he served in the Canadian Air Force, where he trained as a bombardier, before returning to McGill for a PhD in genetics (1945) and a MDCM (1950), carrying out significant research in teratology and syndromology. He was the founder of the Department of Medical Genetics at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and its first director. He served in this role and as Molson Professor of Human Genetics at McGill from 1950 – 1982. Following, that he moved to St. John’s to develop a similar programme at Memorial University, taking up the post Professor of Clinical Genetics. He returned to McGill as a Professor Emeritus in 1985, until his retirement in 1999. In 1995, the Department of Medical Genetics at the Montreal Children’s Hospital was renamed the F. Clarke Fraser Clinical Genetics Centre at McGill University. F. Clarke Fraser’s work was foundational in the creation of the field of medical genetics and genetic counselling. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1985 and awarded the Prix du Quebec in 1999. He was also inducted as a laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2012. F. Clarke Fraser had four children with his first wife, Beryl Deblois, from whom he divorced in 1972. He later married Marilyn Preus, a clinical geneticist and textile artist. F. Clarke Fraser died in Nova Scotia on December 17, 2014, at the age of 93.


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