Botany alumnus Jim Fralish passes away

1939 - 2011

jim FralishCARBONDALE - James "Jim" Steven Fralish, 72, died Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011, at home after a short but courageous battle with a brain tumor.

He was born Nov. 4, 1938 in Berlin, Wis., to Loretta and Steve Fralish.

Dr. Fralish received his bachelor's and master's degrees in forestry from Michigan State University. After receiving his Ph.D. in plant ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1969, he accepted a position in SIU Carbon-dale's forestry department, where he taught and did research until his retirement in 1996. He prided himself on the individual attention he provided to his graduate students and worked alongside them in the field and in the laboratory. Even after his retirement, he continued to guide students through their graduate work, the last graduating in August of this year.

Dr. Fralish was a well-respected researcher in the field of plant ecology, with many published articles and several books, including "Taxonomy and Ecology of Woody Plants in North American Forests." He was a senior editor of the "American Midland Naturalist." He was a member, winner of the Faculty Research Award and former president of the Association of Southeastern Biologists and a senior ecologist in the Ecological Society of America. He served on the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

Jim was an active member of the Carbondale and Southern Illinois communities. He was a founding member of the Southern Illinois Audubon Society, which was formed as part of an effort to save Lusk Creek in Pope County, and held many leadership positions in that organization. He was part of the formation of Carbondale Soccer Inc., and served continuously on the board of directors, where his sage advice was always appreciated. His love of the sport and commitment to the youth of the community resulted, with the help of many others, in the establishment of both boys and girls soccer programs at Carbondale Community High School. He served as assistant and head coach for the boys teams at various times, and as head coach of the girls' team for the first five years. He was also a soccer referee and could always be found on the soccer fields on Saturday mornings.

In recognition of years of service to the community, he received the prestigious Lindell W. Sturgis Award from the SIU Board of Trustees in 1996, and was named to the Hall of Service of Carbondale Community High School in 2010. He was named as one of the Leaders Among Us by the Southern Business Journal in 2005. Jim was proud to serve on the Carbondale Park District Board of Comm-issioners, from which he regretfully resigned when he became ill.

Jim was an avid Saluki fan, especially enjoying men's and women's basketball, volleyball and softball. He also was a strong St. Louis Cardinals supporter, and for many years attended the Cardinals Legends camp, where he had the opportunity to play baseball with the pros and was a pretty good pitcher in his day. He enjoyed backpacking, hiking, camping, canoeing and cycling, especially when those activities were shared with his wife and friends.

Jim is survived by his wife of more than 47 years; children, Christopher Julian-Fralish and his wife, Stacey, of Carbondale and Nath-aliewyn "Tally" Fralish Robbins of De Soto. "G.G." will be missed by his grandchildren, Jake, Kaedi, Janey and Baylor Robbins of De Soto, and Sage Julian-Fralish, of Carbondale. Also surviving are his sister, Evelyn Thomas, of Berlin Wis., and her children, Julie Portman, Dr. Terry Altpeter and Dr. David Thomas (Cheryl); sister-in-law, Wyn Brooks of Louisville, Ky., her husband, Tom Brooks, and their daughter, Michelle Foote (Tom); brother-in-law, Keith Brown of Cin-cinnati, his wife, Nancy Brown, and their children, Melissa Severance (David), Emily Brown, Elizabeth Proud (Andy), Nathan Brown, Matthew Brown and Alex Brown and many great-nieces and nephews.

By his request, Jim will be cremated after a private burial. A gathering of friends and family will be at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois or Carbondale Community High School Foundation for the benefit of the soccer program.

Service time and place will be posted at a later date on www.meredithfh.com.