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Monday, July 2, 2018

Fort Thomas Man Gifts Water Fountain to Inverness District

Fort Thomas resident Shelby Frazer stands next to the new Inverness District water fountain, which he and his family donated to the city.

Fort Thomas residents have been gifted a new water fountain, at the intersection of N. Fort Thomas Ave. and Memorial Parkway, thanks to the generosity of retired city maintenance director Shelby Frazer and his family.

Frazer moved to Fort Thomas with his parents in 1956 – he was in the third grade. He's lived in Fort Thomas his entire life, apart from a few years in which he was drafted and served in the military. "I got married to a girl I met while in the service and we bought a house in Fort Thomas," Frazer says. "We've been married 53 years. She's put up with me that long," he adds, laughing. The couple have two children.

Prior to retirement Frazer spent many years working for the city of Fort Thomas, maintaining the armory and now privately-owned homes in Tower Park. But Frazer's passion has always been cars. At a very young age he began showing up at John "Doc" Doherty's service station, which used to be located at the intersection of N. Fort Thomas Ave. and Memorial Parkway. You can see a picture of it here.

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"Doc was a really nice guy who took care of the boys there – three or four of us worked on cars there," Frazer says. "We spent a lot of time there and he was awfully good at helping us and allowing us to work there." 

Shelby Frazer sitting on the bench dedicated to John "Doc" Doherty.

Several years ago Frazer dedicated a bench at the same intersection to Doherty. The plaque says "In honor of John 'Doc' Doherty, 44 years of service at this location, from Shelby and the boys."

Frazer, who now lives with his wife in his parents' old house on Hartweg Ave., wanted to give something back to the city he's long loved while also honoring Doherty and the many fine memories he has working on cars at the service station, thanks to Doherty's generosity. Frazer's wife, Charlotte, who likes to walk her dog in the area, noted there wasn't a water fountain on this side of town.

A plaque in front of the water fountain lists Shelby, along with his wife, Charlotte, their children and their grandchildren.
"The city didn't have anything down here and I thought it would be a good thing to do," Frazer says. "It's a good investment, in my opinion."

City Administrative Officer Ron Dill says the generous water fountain donation was a great opportunity to meet a need, particularly dog walkers, runners and school-aged children who didn't have a public water source in the Inverness District.

"Placing [water fountains] in locations such as at a prominent intersection where people can take advantage of it is a great opportunity and we certainly value that," Dill says. "I appreciate the Frazer family for recognizing that and stepping forward to create an opportunity for the community. ... He worked there as a kid and he has an affinity for that intersection and what it means to him, personally, so he wanted to do something to contribute there. I think the gift to the community will be very much appreciated in that location."

Today Frazer is enjoying retirement, and he continues to work on cars. His current project is a 1932 Chevrolet.

"I love this city," Frazer says. "It's been very good to me."

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