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Fraun Martin: A life of love and laughter

Even when you know it’s coming, the news hurts.  The CFN family got word on Aug. 1 that Fraun Cragg Martin had left this world, nearly three years after receiving a stunning terminal cancer diagnosis.  And though we knew the end was near, it was – and still is – hard to accept that this remarkable woman, so extraordinarily full of life, is with us now only in spirit and in the wonderful memories she helped create over the last 24 years.

FraunCFN readers may not have known Fraun, but our advertisers and publishing colleagues sure did, and we heard from many of them after they learned of her passing.  Fraun, who was just 59, was the wife of CFN Publisher Rick Martin for more than 40 years.  Together, they raised two sons, Matthew, an attorney, and Iain, a filmmaker best known for his documentary “Life by Lobster.”

Fraun spent many years as a stay-at-home mom before finding her career niche in the late 1980s selling advertising for Maine radio stations.  Then, in 1990, she joined our parent company, Compass Publications Inc., as the advertising sales rep for what was then a new, national business trade journal, CFN’s sister publication Fish Farming News.  A few years later, Fraun took on responsibilities for a substantial portion of the ad sales for Commercial Fisheries News, and she held both positions until the very end.

The work was perfectly suited to Fraun’s exceptionally gregarious and engaging character and she naturally built strong relationships with her clients.  Few ever experienced an exchange with her that wasn’t peppered with laughter and salty humor.  Fraun always could see how placement in CFN or FFN was good for advertisers and was never shy about telling them exactly what they should do and then helping them go about it.

Fred Mattera of the Point Judith, RI-based safety training company NESTCo recalled that, even though he would speak to Fraun about his CFN ad only a few times a year, the conversations invariably included discussions about family and life in general.

“I was always amazed at her enthusiasm, energy, and effervescence – the three ‘Es’ – and her personality.  Conversations with Fraun left me elated and upbeat,” he said.  “Very few people possess such a persona.  She was just a lovely person.”

That was true in mind, heart, and body.  In her obituary, her family remembered that Fraun “loved big hair and big shoes. “  We CFN field staffers usually would only see Fraun at trade shows throughout the year and would never fail to be wowed by her flashy getups, gorgeous mane, and mile-high heels.  She invariably laughed and laughed, acknowledging the challenge of getting around the show floor in her glamorous footwear.

Fraun never smoked in her life, so her diagnosis in December 2011 of advanced stage lung cancer was a devastating shock to her and her family.  But she did everything she could to fight the disease and did so with incredible strength and grace.  In mid-2012, she and Rick moved to South Florida to be with their boys.  They always hoped to return to their beloved home in Deer Isle, ME, but were never able to make the trip.

Fraun was universally remembered for her “light-up-the-room” smile, her “wicked sense of humor,” her interest in other people’s lives, her generosity in sharing her own, her artistic bent shown through her work in stained glass, her love of Boxer dogs, and her beautiful singing voice.

In a very small company such as ours, every person has an important job.  During her treatment, as we worked along producing CFN and FFN issues and meeting deadlines, Fraun continued with ad sales but stepped back from involvement in the day-to-day hum of things.  We missed her and she missed us.

Her death leaves a big hole in our company, one that is hard at this time to imagine filling.  But in truth, the job loss is secondary.  Fraun was our dear friend, and it’s clear from the outpouring of sympathy from her clients and others that she touched a lot of people in the same way.  We thank all of you for your words of condolences and comfort in these difficult weeks and want you to know that Rick will be handling Fraun’s accounts to ensure a smooth transition.

An informal celebration of Fraun’s life will be held in Deer Isle at a later date.  Memorial contributions in her name may be made online at  <newlifeboxerrescue.com> or mailed to:  New Life Boxer Rescue, PO Box 834, Kenilworth, NJ  07033.  /cfn/