Wilma  Fraser

Obituary of Wilma Marijke Fraser

Wilma Marijke (Auer) Fraser left us on Christmas Day, 2023, just shy of her 80th year, following complications from cancer.  She was a loving mother and Oma, teacher, traveller, friend, and constant companion-wife.


She was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and emigrated to Canada at age 2 with her elder brother Jan (John, pre-deceased) when her parents settled in Ottawa after World War II.  The daughter of Professor Dr. Jos Auer and Elske (de Waardt) Auer, (both pre-deceased), she is survived by her brother Dr. Josh Auer, husband Robert (Bob), daughters Jessica and Mirika (Mieke), granddaughters Claire and Naomi, many nieces and nephews, and several cousins.


Wilma never realized her teenage dream of being a classical Archeologist.  After graduating –along with Bob, her lifelong partner – from Bishop’s University (1965), she specialized in Anglo-Saxon and Mediaeval Literature and Languages at University of New Brunswick (MA, 1970), and University of Ottawa (partial Phd. 1969-71).  Together, she and Bob taught Commonwealth and World Literature at University of Zambia (1971-74, 1977-81). 


Between jobs they lived in Greece for seven months and travelled there many times in subsequent years, especially to Naxos, where Wilma greatly admired the ancient site of Demeter.  Upon their return to Canada, she completed 20 years of teaching at Algonquin College, interrupted by a three-year posting to Egypt where she was an Editor at a local consulting firm. 


Wilma had many interests and enjoyments during her lifetime. She always had cats, usually Siamese, and sometimes dogs, preferably Retrievers.  She was incredibly creative; for many years she sewed her own clothes and made jewelery.  At the outset of the covid pandemic, she produced over 300 masks for medical facilities and volunteer organizations. 


She loved the outdoors – camping trips, canoeing, gardening – and cottage life on Otty Lake in the early years.  As a youth, she was a Brownie, Girl Guide and Sea Cadet, and attended Camp Kawabi.  She played the flute and piano and enjoyed much music (except Rap), modern dance, the cinema, reading a vast assortment of World fiction, and cooking.  In later years she took up nature and landscape photography. She ranted about unsavoury politicians in Canada (and elsewhere) and cheered for women’s hockey and soccer teams.


Family, friendships, laughter, and pot-lucks with good ‘drinkipoo’ were essential to her existence.  How Oma enjoyed amusing her granddaughters by quoting complicated tongue-twisters in Dutch!  She always provided little teasing verses to go with the Sinterklaas tricks and chocolate treats.  While The Netherlands was her earliest home, her life was a truly Canadian adventure.


The immediate family attended her cremation.  There will be an Informal Reception for friends, relatives and colleagues to enjoy remembering her on Saturday, January 13th, from 12:30pm to 2:30pm, in Room #1 at Pinecrest Cemetery, 2500 Baseline Road, Ottawa.


“O singular and breathless pearl!” (e. e. cummings). You are so greatly missed and cherished.





12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Pinecrest Reception Centre
2500 Baseline Road
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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