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Filling the role of a missing dad

The following letter appeared on Feb. 20, 2010, in The Commercial Appeal of Memphis.

The May 15 article "Study hints at stuttering as an inherited trait of genes" brought back memories of Malcolm Fraser, who founded a stuttering institute in Memphis.

My brothers Bill and Bob and I were active in the then Man-for-Boy Club in the 1950s, which was based at the Downtown YMCA on Madison.

Mr. Fraser, along with other prominent men (namely Mr. McRae, president of then Memphis U-Drive-It and Dr. Rayburn Johnson, professor of geography at Memphis State University, all now deceased) played a prominent role for boys who came from divorced families and who were without a father figure to look up to.

Because we were sponsored by these men, we became close to them in all the activities Man-for-Boy represented.

Mr. Fraser even gave my disabled mother a job in the shipping department at Standard Parts, as he was a founding partner of that firm. All three of us graduated from Humes High School, earned college degrees and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bill, now 73, retired from the Marines; Bob, 72, who owns his own CPA firm in Hattiesburg, Miss.; and myself, 70, a retired educator from State Technical Institute at Memphis, all are appreciative of these men. Who knows what would have happened to the three of us had Mr. Malcolm Fraser, Mr. McRae and Dr. Rayburn Johnson not taken the time to get involved? To all three gentlemen, we say "thank you" for caring.

John C. Cummings
Lakeland