Jack Iddon

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With Grace

Grace's memorial serviceThe last year in the life of Grace Frasier

Grace Frasier of Fairhaven learned in early 1996, at the age of 64, that she had terminal lung cancer. In the last year of her life, she, her husband, Stanley, and hospice workers of the Community Nurse Association of Fairhaven took an incredible journey. That year is captured in an extraordinary photographic memoir by Standard-Times chief photographer Jack Iddon.

At left, a photo of a young Grace is displayed at her April 29, 1997 memorial service in Fairhaven's Church of the Good Shepherd.

    Sometimes the photos we shoot and the stories we write do concern life and death. Such assignments can be troubling and painful, and sometimes they remind us of why we got into this business in the first place: to move people and be moved by them.
   In February of 1996. Standard-Times features editor Anne Humphrey floated a notion past chief photographer Jack Iddon. Her idea: a pictorial essay that would help demystify death and dying by following a person through the hospice experience, to the end.  Jack said yes, but had no inkling of what he was about to experience.  Soon after, the hospice staff at the Community Nurse Association of Fairhaven approached terminally ill patient Grace Frasier with the idea. She and her husband Stanley, who lived in the Fairhaven Village Apartments, said yes.

   Jack and Grace had actually met in the early 1980's when he was a free-lance photographer for the Fairhaven Advocate and was assigned to shoot Grace's works of needlepoint.  In March of 1996,
not long after Grace was diagnosed with cancer, Jack began what would become an intense, year long relationship with the Frasiers. At first, he just dropped by, without cameras, getting acquainted and explaining what he would be doing. Soon, he began to shoot. Over the next 14 months, he visited more than 50 times and took hundreds of photos. Sometimes he just stopped in to say hi or drop something off. All along, Jack sandwiched his trips to the Frasiers in between other assignments that he continued to do for the newspaper.
Grace died on April 18, 1997.
On Friday, August 1, 1997, the Standard-Times newspaper presented seven special pages chronicling the last year of Grace's life. The following three stories accompany the pictures, sharing more details of Grace and Stanley's journey:

1. An interview with Grace and Stanley in the spring of 1996.

2. Hospice nurse Anita Long speaks of her experience.

3. Photographer Jack Iddon speaks of his experience.


The photographic journey.....