Letter to the Editor

Lessons learned

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dear Editor,

I was sad to learn of Bob Fraker's passing and read his obituary Jan. 5. He influenced me tremendously, running two successful businesses in Oberlin and McCook.

I worked summers for him in the mid-70s at Red Willow Aviation.

He hired me, said get a notebook to keep track of my own hours, gave me a key to the hangar and said feel free to ask questions. Being trusted and allowed to learn made this job the best opportunity ever.

He was more than a flight instructor, cropduster and employer; his subtle lessons still influence me, even after 40 years. One day, he flew an injured kid to Denver in his fast Beechcraft Bonanza, his "toy." Later, the hospital called, said the family couldn't afford to pay. Bob said "O.K." and hung up. We ask, why he does this, it's expensive!

"Because I can." That answer and subtle lessons stuck with me, even after 40 years. Because he had the skill, the brains and economic means.

Bob taught me discrete generosity and discipline and a work ethic. He was tolerant of my mistakes, even the expensive ones. He knew when to throw me in the deep end, pushing me more than I did myself. Three summers later, I got up the nerve to ask for a raise. He asked how much I needed to finish college, and I worked up an estimate.

"O.K., that's what I'll pay you."

The hours were long, but I learned more from Bob than all those professors.


Christopher Eklund,

Durham, North Carolina

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