Connie Lind-Fraher, accomplished business owner and later dedicated director of visitor services for the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, recently passed away at her residence in Friendship Haven.
She was 66 years old.
“Connie was probably one of the most caring and genuine people I know,” said Kerrie Kuiper, executive director of CVB. “She has a card drawer and whenever someone was going through a difficult time or a happy time, Connie was the first to grab a card and contact someone. It’s just who she was. Just a very, very kind soul.
Kuiper started working with Lind-Fraher in 2017. Kuiper recalled the positive impact Lind-Fraher had on everyone around her.
“We had an intern (Emily Johnson, St. Edmond graduate) who worked with us over the summer (a few years ago) and Connie was such a mentor to everyone she met, but she was the first person to volunteer or help out if there was ever a need, “ Kuiper said. “She took Emily under her wing and Emily had a great internship thanks to Connie.”
Lind-Fraher was born in Iowa City to Jim and Rose Lind. She spent her childhood and adolescence in Cedar Rapids and Mason City until she entered Iowa State University in Ames in 1973. She first studied journalism, then turned to journalism. business and obtained a major in commerce and minors in psychology and sociology. She then attended Buena Vista University in Storm Lake to complete her bachelor’s degree.
After college, she moved to Fort Dodge in 1976 and began her business career as a director of Health Manpower, a physician recruiting organization. Lind-Fraher then rose through the ranks to be both Vice President and Owner of A-1 Home Healthcare, a company started by her mother, until 2007. She was then announced as Managing Director, President and Owner of A-1. In 2008.
A family business established in 1979, A-1 Home Healthcare Medical Equipment & Supplies, opened in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and two locations in Fort Dodge. The company was an independent supplier of medical equipment for 37 years until its merger with UnityPoint Health in 2015.
In the past, she was part of a legislative committee that traveled to Washington, DC, to lobby for changes to Medicare and health care legislation. She also attended state legislative sessions on Medicaid issues and cuts.
Lind-Fraher has served on numerous committees within the Main Street Fort Dodge, Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance and Fort Dodge Noon Rotary organizations.
She joined the Fort Dodge CVB after a career spanning over 40 years in the medical supply industry. During this career, she has been active in numerous organizations, event planning committees, project teams and was named the recipient of the Fort Dodge Small Business of the Year and Athena Businesswoman of the Year. ‘year in 2005. The Athena Prize was an award she particularly cherished, according to Kuiper.
“She was very proud to receive this and humbled by it”, Kuiper said. “She was extremely active in many organizations. I can’t imagine there are a lot of people she’s met that she hasn’t had an impact on. She’s just that kind of person.
Lind-Fraher, who was also an active member of the First Presbyterian Church, was reliable.
“The greatest thing I could give her was just that she was someone you could count on”, Kuiper said. “And she was there to make your day better. Even though her day was bad, she was going to make yours better.
As Director of Visitor Services, she briefed visitors on interesting and fun things to do in Fort Dodge.
Dennis Plautz, CEO of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said his involvement in the community is admirable.
“She has been an ambassador of the Growth Alliance for many years”, said Plautz. “She has been very active in promoting the community and the activities of the Chamber of Commerce and now more recently CVB.
Plautz added, “She and her mother have been very active for years and have contributed to many initiatives and projects designed to stimulate the economy.
She was someone who seized opportunities to get involved, according to those who knew her.
“She was always very pleasant to be around and ready to join a committee and help people with things that were community”, said Plautz.
In particular, Lind-Fraher has been very involved in the activities of the Central Market.
“She was involved in many old Chamber and Growth Alliance committees and activities and really believed in the community.” said Plautz.
Lydia Schuur, Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said Lind-Fraher cares about others.
“Connie has always been very generous and kind” said Schuur. “She was the person who always thought about picking up a card for someone. Very generous person.”
Kris Patrick, Executive Director of Main Street Fort Dodge, has been part of the Main Street Promotion Team since 2017.
“She has become a very close friend”, said Patrick. “Connie was such a caring and loving person. She made everyone around her feel comfortable and at ease. She never forgot a birthday or a special event. It would be like having a day off and the next day there would be a bouquet of flowers on your desk to cheer you up.
Patrick said Lind-Fraher also has a sense of humor.
“We had fun times” said Patrick. “She would take money for us for lunches in the (town) square because she knows everyone.” People were in line and she called everyone by their first name and always had a funny thing to say. She just made everyone feel welcome and recognized.
As a worker, Patrick described Lind-Fraher as “effective” and “able to relate to so many people.”
And Patrick also appreciated his sense of style.
“She always had the coolest shoes” said Patrick. “She had some awesome, cool shoes on.”
Patrick said he will miss going to lunch with Lind-Fraher and seeing her smile.
“I’m going to miss being able to kiss my friend” said Patrick. “Heaven has an angel. “
Lind-Fraher was one of Tea Thyme’s best customers, according to owner Debra Lacina.
“She has supported our company a lot”, said Lacina. “She was truly one of our best customers in the gift shop. Always looking for a gift for someone.
And it turns out that she would literally give something off her back to someone else.
“One time she came in and had this beautiful necklace and I said, ‘I love this necklace, where did you get it?'”
Ultimately, Lind-Fraher decided that she would give the necklace to Lacina.
“The next thing I knew, Connie comes over and gives me the necklace,” remembers Lacina. “And it was expensive too. She said you would enjoy it more and I really wanted to give it to you. So generous and truly supportive of businesses. And we are not the only ones.