Goodwin is saddened to announce the death of its former Managing Partner and Chairman Robert B. Fraser. Bob, who passed away Thursday at 87, loved the firm and cared deeply about its people. A renowned corporate lawyer who led Goodwin for over a dozen years, he helped build the firm into one of the largest in New England, and set the stage for its eventual expansion in the northeast U.S. and nationwide.
Graduating from Harvard University and Harvard Law School, Bob joined Goodwin in 1955 after serving in the U.S. Army in Korea. He practiced corporate law with a specialty in taxation. He would become the firm’s first full-time Managing Partner in 1984, serving in that role until 1993, and later as Chairman until his retirement in 1997.
Under Bob’s leadership, Goodwin became recognized as a leader in the City of Boston for its involvement in community‑oriented initiatives, especially with regard to education. Bob devoted countless hours of his own time to educational issues in the City of Boston. He earned a reputation for his thoughtful and committed approach, which led to involvement with many of the city’s important education initiatives and organizations, including leadership positions with Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools, Boston Adult Literacy Fund, Boston Partners in Education, American Student Assistance Corporation, Citywide Educational Coalition, Massachusetts Commission on the Common Core of Learning, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, and Boston Bar Association Task Force on Public Education.
He committed his time and leadership to many of the area’s institutions of higher learning as well, serving as a Trustee of Lesley College, on the Dean’s Advisory Council at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and on the Board of Visitors for both Northeastern University College of Business Administration and Bunker Hill Community College. He also served in leadership positions and on the Boards of Boston Against Drugs, the Boston Private Industry Council, the Boston Public Library Foundation, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Jobs for Massachusetts, and the Boston Public Health Commission.
Bob was a long-time champion of the arts. He was a classically trained pianist who performed with the Boston Pops and the Boston Bar Association Orchestra. Music was a vital part of his life, and in retirement he competed internationally in amateur piano competitions, most recently in Boston and Berlin. Bob served on the Boards of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Boston Lyric Opera, and was Chairman of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts, an organization providing pro bono services for artists.
Selfless, subtle and principled, and a great teacher and listener, Bob was beloved by all who knew him. He leaves a legacy of devotion to community and family.
We will miss him.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at St. Paul’s Church, 502 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482 at 2 p.m.
Full Robert B. Fraser obituary.