By Cary Shuman
William “Paul” Frazier has been the go-to guy for all matters relating to the Winthrop Board of Health since 1982.
Frazier, director of the Board of Health for 28 years, has announced he is stepping down from his position at the end of this month.
“I’m 65 years old, and the reason I’m retiring is that I’m still young enough to get out and do things I want to do,” said Frazier, whose son, Vincent, 31, works for the glaziers union.“I have a wife [Barbara] at home that needs me, and we still have time to do things together and enjoy our life before we get too old.”
Originally appointed to the position by board members Paul Dawson, Ron Vecchia, and Dan Dalrymple, Frazier previously worked as a heavy equipment operator at Deer Island and as an embalmer and funeral director at Stanetsky Funeral Home in Brookline.
“I’ve really enjoyed my job as health director over the years,” said Frazier. “I’ve had success doing things that had to be done around the town. I try to work with the people and the businesses, and I was pro-business. I didn’t want to see any business closed down, so I worked with them to make sure that if there were violations, they got them corrected before I laid the law down on them.”
Frazier said he found local business people to be very cooperative.
“Because of that, it was easy job for me,” said Frazier. “I grew up in the town. I knew most of the people and they knew me – I was fair but stern.”
After excelling as the captain of the 1963 Winthrop High football team, Frazier attended the University of Wyoming on a full athletic scholarship. At Wyoming, Frazier was an offensive guard who blocked for the school’s most illustrious player, Jim Kiick, who went on to star alongside Larry Csonka for the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only team in National Football League history to post an undefeated record (17-0) through the regular season and playoffs.
“I remember the 1963 season at Wyoming because that was the year that President Kennedy was assassinated and we were getting ready to go to Texas – El Paso – but they postponed the game because all the borders were closed,” recalled Frazier, who hopes to reunite with his former teammates in Wyoming in October.
In the meantime, Frazier said the Board of Health office at Town Hall is a busy one. Among its duties are the administering of hepatitis shots to public safety personnel and blood pressure clinics.
Frazier said he had a very good working relationship with board members such as former Fire Chief Ed Hazlett, Ralph Sirianni, Jack Down, Billy Hayes, and others.
“We had very good boards,” said Frazier. “I have no complaints about any of the boards that I’ve worked with. I’ve also had great staffs – they’ve been very cooperative and helped the department a lot. [Office manager] Rita Driscoll and [public health nurse] Rose Sarro have been tremendous. Until recently, we were a full-time department, and after Proposition 2 1/2, we became a part-time department.”
Frazier thinks there is a need for a full-time health department in Winthrop.
“I think the future of health departments in this town and other communities should not be focused on inspections but on the diseases that are coming from around the world – the swine flu is going to be major,” said Frazier. “We’ve already set the wheels in motion to be able to dispense the flu vaccines that may become necessary. We have a plan in place. I think the health of the community has to be a No. 1 priority, because there are so many new diseases that are going to have to be attended to.”