Prolific New Brunswick writer Raymond Fraser dies at 77

The acclaimed author of about two dozen works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry received the Order of New Brunswick and the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for High Achievements in the Arts for his contributions to literature and culture in the province.

Chatham native and author of about two dozen books died in Fredericton

Raymond Fraser, a Chatham-born author, has died at the age of 77. (Raymond Fraser/Facebook)

Canada lost one of its "great independent writers" this week with the death of New Brunswick author Raymond Fraser.

The Chatham native died in Fredericton on Monday while surrounded by loved ones. He was 77.

The acclaimed author of about two dozen works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry received the Order of New Brunswick and the Lieutenant-Governor's Award for High Achievements in the Arts for his contributions to literature and culture in the province.

Fraser stood between former lieutenant-governor Graydon Nicholas, left, and former premier David Alward while receiving the Order of New Brunswick in 2012. (Raymond Fraser/Facebook)

Some of his more notable books include The Black Horse Tavern, The Fighting Fisherman and The Bannonbridge Musicians.

"He was an independent man, an independent thinker, and come hell or high water he was going to do his work and he did it on his own," said close friend and Canadian senator David Adams Richards, another popular New Brunswick writer.

I've been all over the world, and I've never seen anyone with a sweeter, more self-deprecating smile than Ray Fraser. - David Adams Richards, senator

Calling him "one of the great independent writers" in the country, Richards said he admired Fraser's determination to make his own way through his career — something he could empathize with, knowing challenges facing independent authors.

"I've always said that's what a writer should be," Richards told Shift New Brunswick. "I trust the independent writer more than I trust the other writers."

Richards knew Fraser, the writer, but he also knew, Fraser, the person. He recalled the times the two spent golfing, fishing and running the Bay du Vin River. He said Fraser had a sense of humour and it was apparent in some of his best writing.

"I've been all over the world, and I've never seen anyone with a sweeter, more self-deprecating smile than Ray Fraser," Richards said.

"That's where you saw his spirit and his heart."

Fraser was an acclaimed writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. (Government of New Brunswick)

Born May 8, 1941, Fraser attended St. Thomas University in his hometown of Chatham and suited up for multiple varsity sports teams. He lived in Montreal, Paris, Dublin, Spain and finally Fredericton. While living in Montreal, he founded the Montreal Story Tellers Fiction Performance Group and the Rank Outsiders Poetry Extravaganza.

His former wife, Sharon Fraser, confirmed his death in a Facebook post.

"He has come to the end of the road," Fraser said. "He has had wonderful care and he didn't suffer."

A celebration in Fredericton of Fraser's literacy legacy and a funeral mass in Miramichi are being arranged.

With files from Shift New Brunswick