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April 11, 1997

Time's onward sweep is claiming another fragment of our history with the closing of the Frazier Dairy, an institution in Perry and Noble county since 1922 -- three-quarters of a century. Family members have closed down the operation that started after the late William Hayes Frazier and his wife, Ada, moved to this area from Blackwell with their young children. The Fraziers came here in 1920 and started the dairy business two years later.

In the recent past, the dairy has been operated by Mr. Frazier's great-grandson, Billy Frazier, son of Ron and Nancy Frazier, but Billy has chosen to return to school to pursue an advance degree at Oklahoma State University and has found there is just not enough time to combine the two efforts. He already has a bachelor's degree in animal science with a production major. Now he is taking courses in medieval history and Latin, possibly leading to a doctoral degree and a career in teaching. Billy and his wife, Cindy, have a young son, Tristan. Cindy is employed by a finance company in Stillwater.

Billy's grandfather, Rayborn, started in the dairy business for himself on a farm one mile east of Perry, where the Spudds Wideners later built a brick home. Rayborn and his wife, Hazel, later sold that part of the operation and took over his father's dairy.

The original Frazier's Dairy came into existence on a farm at the south edge of Perry, and that area now is a sort of living compound for several members of the family. William H. Frazier built the operation into one of Noble county's most respected businesses. At its peak in the 1960s, deliveries were being made twice a day to an estimated 500 to 600 homes in Perry twice weekly.

The children of William and Ada Frazier were Floyd, Margaret, Rayborn, Phillip, Flossie and Donald. With the death of Margaret Albin last month in Stillwater, Donald, born in 1924, now is the only surviving child. He also lives in Stillwater. The elder Mr. Frazier was a familiar sight in this community for years as he made deliveries of milk in a panel truck with "Frazier Dairy" painted on the sides. Two long-standing customers were the Winger Grocery operated by H. L. and Lena Winger on the east side of the square and the Mooter Grocery & Market operated by L. J. and Kathryn Mooter at 205 Seventh street, just south of the square.

Rayborn and his wife, Hazel, took over operation of the dairy about 1943. Under their direction, the dairy was modernized and city-wide deliveries of milk were made morning and evening. Rayborn received numerous awards for the clean, efficient operation of the dairy. One of his special pleasures was conducting youngsters on tours of the operation, according to his daughter, Kathy Frazier Taylor.

Milk bottles first became widely available around 1900 when machinery was introduced to mass produce glass containers of every shape and size. Prior to that, customers usually provided their own containers to receive milk from the dairy or store of their choice. Bottles bearing the Frazier logo was used from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, when home deliveries were terminated.

Several souvenirs from the earliest days of the Frazier Dairy have been on display recently in a showcase at the west entry to the Perry Carnegie Library, but even they hardly tell the whole story of this family farm business were sons, grandsons and most recently a great-grandson have been involved. After 75 years, the Frazier Dairy no longer exists, but it will be long remembered by many former customers and friends of the family.