Mary Ann (Barker) Frazee began her life on May 2, 1934, in Mountain Grove, Missouri. The first born and only daughter of Ernest James “Tony” Barker and Hazel (Brumley) Barker attended Lone Star country school until 1942 when she moved with her family to California so her father, a World War I veteran, could work in the war effort to defeat Nazi Germany and Japan. He soon bought a business in Castaic where Mary Ann and her three brothers attended the local school and she attended two years of high school in Newhall. In 1949, they relocated to Mountain Grove where Mary Ann graduated from Mountain Grove High School as the valedictorian of the class of 1951. After graduation, she worked for several months at Southwestern Bell Telephone in Kansas City before returning home and enrolling at what was then known as Southwest Missouri State. During this time she reconnected with Herbert Lyle “Dock” Frazee whom she had met during her high school years. A native of Willow Springs, he had joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Millington, Tennessee. He courted Mary Ann with week-end passes and through telephone and U.S. mail contact.
They were married on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1953, at the home of her parents. The ceremony was officiated by Rev. Ercil Barker, a cousin and pastor of the First Baptist Church. They moved to Memphis where Mary Ann found work at a local business, but after a short time Dock was reassigned to San Diego, California, and they moved there. She also found work there with the county library service. After a short time, Dock received orders for an extended tour on the USS Point Cruze, a carrier and submarine tender. He left behind his newly pregnant wife and returned on the same day his first son, David Lyle, was born. Mary Ann had returned to Mountain Grove because she wanted to have her baby born in Missouri with family for support.
After Dock’s discharge, the young couple and baby moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where Dock enrolled at Kansas State University, picking up where he had left off before joining the Navy. Although his major had been in physical education, he found his interests had changed and he no longer felt drawn to his early intent to be a coach. While on a visit to Mountain Grove he made application at Brown Shoe and was soon notified for an opening as a commissary clerk. After a few months an opening at the local post office became available and he quit his job at Brown Shoe and went to work at the post office where he clerked for over thirty years. The couple added two more children to their family, Cindy and Stephen.
Mary Ann worked as an assistant assessor to her father and made up the tax books for several years. She went to work at the local Sears Catalog Store and was employed there for almost fourteen years. In the ‘80s, she became executive secretary for the Mountain Grove Chamber of Commerce where she modernized the office, wrote a monthly newsletter to the members and arranged for weekly speakers at the Chamber luncheons. In 1985, she was honored as the Chambers Professional of the year and the BPW Woman of the Year.
Coming from a staunchly Republican family, once her children were raised, Mary Ann became involved in local politics. She served as secretary, vice chairman and chairman of the Wright County Republican Central Committee and Vice Chairman of the 7th District Republican Committee. In 1987, she was elected as first alternate of the 7th District to the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas, a dream come true. It was “the best possible convention to be a part of” with Ronald Reagan and George Bush as the nominees, great speakers and entertainers at every session. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity to represent Missouri at this great convention” she often said. Later, as Secretary of the Mountain Grove C of C, she was able to get Vice President George Bush to come to Mountain Grove for the re-dedication of the historic bandstand on the Mountain Grove square. Working with Congressman Gene Taylor, the event gave Mountain Grove some well-deserved national exposure. When Wright County TARGET was formed she served as the first president and was active in the organization for many years.
Mary Ann and her husband purchased a farm south of Mountain Grove and started a herd of registered Black Angus in 1965. It was here that they raised their three children, David, Cindy and Stephen. Young people were always welcome at the Frazee household and many found a second home there. For many years the family was active in the local Church of the Nazarene where a lifetime of friendships were formed. In recent years, they were connected to the First Christian Church until health considerations made it impossible to attend services.
Mary Ann’s interests were varied. She collected antiques and materials of local historic significance. She was an active member of the Mountain Grove Arts and History Council for many years and was instrumental in the renovation of the old city hall and jail as a museum and donated numerous items from her collection for display and use by the public. Among them were several scrapbooks of local historic significance as well as school memoralbilia.
In 1990, she became a charter member of a board of high school alumni who launched an effort to turn a decrepit city lot into a memorial park for the enjoyment of the community. The fund raising efforts resulted in a unique park that plays host to the MGHS Homecoming each July. She served as secretary for the organization named The MGHS Alumni Memorial Foundation for many years. Her other interests were the beautiful flower gardens she planted each spring, but most of all, her family. Over the years she and her husband befriended many young people, sometimes taking them into their home for a time.
Mary Ann was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of nearly 67 years, Dock Frazee, her oldest brother, Ernest J. “Ernie” Barker Jr., and her youngest brother, Burney Aurthur Barker.
She is survived by her three children, David Frazee and wife, Missy, of Springfield, Missouri, Cindy Hassler and husband, Michael, of Houston, Texas, and Stephen Frazee of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a special daughter, Kathleen Lindsey and husband, Steve, of West Covina, California, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, one brother, Richard Barker and wife, Wanda, sister-in-law, Jean Barker, and a host of other relatives and friends who will miss her dearly. IN lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mountain Grove Alumni Park.
Due to COVID-19 the family has requested a private family graveside service.