Edward James Fraughton

1939 ~ 2024

Edward James Fraughton was born March 22, 1939, on an early spring day in the snowy, impoverished Utah mining town of Park City. He died at 85 of a rare blood cancer in South Jordan, Utah on June 2, 2024.

He attended Marsac Elementary School and, in 1957, graduated from Park City High School. Entering the University of Utah as a civil engineering student, he later changed his major to sculpture and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. While there, he studied, served as a student teaching assistant, assisted in the gross anatomy lab, and did his postgraduate work under the legendary Dr. Avard T. Fairbanks and his son, Justin. He also played baritone horn in the university marching and concert bands.

Following his formal education, which he financed mainly by working night shifts at a local steel fabrication plant, he struggled to make ends meet by working in sales, substitute high school teaching, driving a delivery truck, and laboring as a foundry worker in a local bronze casting facility.

Ed's first sculpture commission involved creating a series of historical portraits for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1968 he was commissioned by the Sons of Utah Pioneers and Mormon Battalion associations to create a heroic monument commemorating the historic Mormon Battalion trek from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to San Diego during the 1846–1847 Mexican-American War. His heroic 12-foot monumental Mormon Battalion Soldier stands at the highest point in San Diego's Presidio Park.

National recognition began in 1973 when Ed was awarded his first gold medal at the National Academy of Western Art for his sculpture Where Trails End. Awards from the National Sculpture Society, National Academy of Design, and other prestigious art organizations soon followed. In 1980, Ed created the inaugural medal for President Reagan, and his Where Trails End was in Reagan's private quarters during the eight years in office. The same piece is now permanently displayed at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Numerous awards followed through the years. Most recently, the National Sculpture Society/National Trust for Historic Preservation's Residency at Chesterwood (June 2023) and a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented (April 2024) by the National Portrait Society of America.

His more recent sculpture projects include A Man to Match My Mountains at Snowbird, Utah Ski Resort, and The Ancient Ones at Mesa Verde National Park, Cortez, Colorado. His portion of a ten-year collaborative effort, commissioned by the First National Bank of Omaha, is in a heroic bronze installation titled Nebraska Wilderness and Pioneer Courage. It depicts a historic pioneer wagon train going west through Nebraska's wilderness.

Edward's greatest source of pride and joy was his family. His love for his wife, his children, and all his posterity was immeasurable. A lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he frequently expressed his devotion to the Savior through his words and his work. His magnum opus, Resurrection, yet to be completed, sits waiting in his studio.

Surviving him is his wife, Ann; Children: Kristi Chapman (Jeff), Ted (Tina), and Michael (Lisa); and sister, Dona Tippetts. Twelve grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, many treasured friends and his brothers in the Redwoods. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Amy; granddaughter, Samantha, mother Clara Jane Ackerlund Nelson; father, Ellis Joseph Fraughton; and Step Father, Charles Nelson; his sisters, Ansilene Ozberkmen, Carol Jane Branham, Charlene Nelson, Louise Christie Nelson; and brother, Billy Nelson.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 7, 2024, at 11:00 am at Larkin Sunset Gardens (1950 E. Dimple Dell Rd, Sandy, UT 84092). The viewing will be from 9:30 - 10:45 am prior. Interment will be held at Larkin Sunset Gardens. To watch the services live or view the recording, please click the “Watch Services” button above.


Our deep condolences to Ann, Kristi, Jeff, Ted, Tina, Michael, your children and grandchildren in this time of loss. What an example of talent, strength, fortitude and faith Edward is. We are better for it.

- Deniz and Claude Dennery

Sincerest sympathies for the family during this time of passing. May you loving family rejoice in the many blessings of a life well lived and the promise of an eternal life that awaits us all.

- Jim Loder

My heartfelt condolences to the Fraughton family. Ed was a rare human being - a great artist, teacher, and intellect. It was an honor and an absolute pleasure to know him. I visited his studio in Utah about thirty years ago and saw him most recently last year when he was the Sculptor-in-Residence at Chesterwood, the summer home and studio of Daniel Chester French (now a National Trust Site) in Massachusetts. He was a force of nature; inspired and inspiring, kind and brilliant. We were lucky to have him.

- Gwen PIer

Dear Ann and family. My sincerest condolences to you and so extremely sorry for your loss. Ed was the greatest sculptor I’ve ever known! I will be forever grateful for his critiques early on in my career and for his kindnesses and constant inspiration through his Masterpieces!
Heartfelt, sincere wishes & comfort,
Gary Lee Price FNSS

- Gary Lee Price

My heart is saddened to hear of your Father’s passing, Kristi. May your heart be comforted in the knowledge of our Savior’s love and His plan of eternal families. Love you so much! ❤️

- Ellen Winn Buxton

My sincere condolences to the Fraughton family. Mr. Fraughton was an incredibly gifted man. A few years ago, we knocked on his door to say hello and give him a treat. He was so kind. He came outside and spoke to us for a very long time. He retrieved his camera and shared many images of his sculpture of the empty tomb he was working on. His rendition of this sacred event was unique and truly magnificent. I felt honored to behold his work.

- Susie Burgoyne

I am so sad to hear of Ed's passing. He has such a brilliant mind and a masterful eye for sculpture. All of us that are in the sculpture world have always looked up to Ed and all of his beautiful works of art. Everything he did was filled with awe and you could gaze upon it for hours picking out the detail that he would so carefully put into all of his work. I know that both of my Brothers John and Gary (also sculptors) both looked up to him. He and I were close friends with Arnold Friberg and Avard Fairbanks that were also Great Masters of our time. These men made me want to create works that would live on far beyond our time here on earth. Thank you, Ed, For the Fine Example that you have set for me and many other upcoming artists. God Bless You. Rest in Peace, my Friend!

- Richard Prazen

We offer our deepest sympathies for your loss. We feel sad that we never had the chance to meet Ed and to learn more about his life. What a treasure of a person and to be so honored for his life's work. We pray that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will give you comfort in the assurance that we will see our loved ones again. Love, Susan and Steve Cutler

- Susan and Steve Cutler

It is with a heavy heart that I learn of Ed’s passing and give my deepest condolences. Ed was an uncompromising artist, inventor, thinker, philosopher and believer in humanity. He had enormous compassion for others and passion for his work. He and Arnold Friberg will forever be giants that have walked among us, each contributing to the other, both blessings our lives.

- Edwin Wall

It is with a heavy heart that I learn of Ed’s passing and give my deepest condolences. Ed was an uncompromising artist, inventor, thinker, philosopher and believer in humanity. He had enormous compassion for others and passion for his work. He and Arnold Friberg will forever be giants that have walked among us, each contributing to the other, both blessings our lives.

- Edwin Wall

Dear Fraughtons, my heart is broken to hear of Ed's passing! The only thing that helps to heal it is hoping that he and Dad have re-connected and picked up where they left off many years ago and are enjoying their visits once again! Our family will always treasure the portrait he did of Dad. And the reunion with sweet Amy has got to have been wonderful! I will always treasure the Fraughtons as great neighbors! Love you all!
Jill Turner

- Jill

Living near Mesa Verde National Park, I frequently marvel at Ed’s monumental sculpture of a rock-climbing Puebloan Indian descending a column of sandstone.. Shortly after it’s installation, I was honored to interview him in his studio, not only amazed by his creativity, but also his ingenuity and his humbleness. My sincere condolences to his family and his many sculpting buddies.

- Anne Brown

We extend our love and condolences to your family., It has been our good fortune to know Kristi and Jeff for over 30 years! While this talented sculptor was workin on the Nebraska project he was kind enough to give us a tour of his workplace. The life like detail he was able to capture spoke to his rich talent!
These and other historic sculptures will live on as a tribute to him and as a meaningful memory of the message they reflect of our rich history! No doubt the real story is his love for and in the lives of his posterity!

- Bob & Mary Ann Gilliland

Dear Ann,
It was a privilege to meet you and Ed and spend an evening visiting with you several years ago. I have love and admiration for you both and send you my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your wonderful husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

- Carol Brown

It has been a privilege to be numbered among Ed's many friends over the past 10 years, to jam with him in our homes, and to have his bass guitar color and elevate several of our performances. We were honored to be invited to his studio on several occasions, and were astounded by his work. The owner of the Jackson, WY studio that represents him told us that he considers Ed to be one of the two best sculptors in the world! It is a loss to the world that his "Resurrection" sculpture was not able to be completed; it is the most amazing and accurate depiction of the Savior's exit from the tomb we have ever seen. Most of all, we will miss his warmth, his sense of humor, his genuine caring for us as a good friend, and his testimony of the Savior as expressed both verbally and through his work. We will miss you, Ed!

- Craig and Lenora Johnson

Loss of a fellow Westerner is never easy. I have long stood in awe of his immense artistic talent, and appreciated his musicianship. What I remember most is what a kind and true gentleman Ed was. He will be missed by everyone who had the privelege to know him.

- Pat Hearty

Dear Ann, Ted and all family of Ed, I am so sorry for your loss. Ed was an exceptional talent and.person. He had a wonderful sense of humor and I always came away from a conversation with Ed with a lighter heart and a smile from his humorous conversation. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of grieving and I pray you will be blessed with health and well-being and sustained by your wonderful memories God bless you and be with you always.
Sincerely, Sally

- Sally Anderson Mooney

Dear Ann, Ted and family
This is with a very sad heart, so very sorry to here of Ed's passing..He was agreat friend and person. I will miss him as many will. My thouhts and prayers are with you.
Love Jack

- Jack Von Eschen

My sincere condolences to my dear family. I feel so blessed to have been able to spend time with you all at the family reunion. Edward gave us a tour of his shop where all of his masterpieces are created. We were in awe at the magnitude of his many talents. His time here was not long enough. I was looking forward to another trip to Utah to see you all again and spend time with Ed. I will miss him dearly. Hugging you all.

- Cathy Remling

Dear Ann, Kristi, Ted, Michael and Family: We read with sorrow of Ed's passing and remember wonderful times we had together in the East 20th Ward, Salt Lake City. Much has happened to us all since then, but we are happy for the good events that occurred in Ed's life with his exquisite and memorable art work. He poured his whole heart and soul into them, and the accolades for those pieces are well-deserved. Please consider contacting us; we would love to talk with Ann and her children again. email address: okjfoxes@centurylink.net. With love & sincerest condolences for you all, Orv & Joan Fox

- Orval & Joan Fox

We love you all and are devastated by this loss. God bless you all.

- Jim and Debbie Avati

I grew up with the Fraughtons in a South Jordan that was truly a small town, not just a small town but something that not all small towns achieve; it was a community. Ed, Ann and family were a vibrant and caring part of that community and I am grateful to have known them and felt their influence in my life. I recall as a young man seeing the sculpture "The Spirit of Wyoming" in the old chapel that served as studio for Ed and marveling at the artistry and the dynamic force of the piece. A visit to the Fraughtons was as good as a visit to a museum; art and photography everywhere, I could have stayed for hours. I had some artistic yearing of my own at the time, and was invited to see some pieces being cast in the foundry downstairs. I also watched as Ed did some live work on the bust of a Catholic priest. I was left marveling at his skill as subtle changes to the clay brought life into the face. He was always kind, encouraging and thoughtful. A man who brought joy and beauty to the lives of those around him. A great man in every respect, I count myself privileged to have known him and his family.

My condolences and best wishes to his family, may God bless and comfort you in this time of loss.

- JR Schouten

Dear Ann, Kristy, Ted and Michael,

I was deeply saddened to hear of Ed’s passing. Growing up across the street, I have wonderful memories of the Fraughton family. There was always a huge piece of art being created in the one time Chapel portion of their home. Their home was dotted with various pieces of Ed’s art and creations.

What priceless treasures Ed has left the world to view, to enjoy and definitely to learn from. He has preserved tremendous moments in history through his keen eye, his careful study, and immense attention to detail. I feel fortunate to be one of his benefactors. The world has indeed lost one of its Greats. Sending you all my love, prayers and condolences for your great loss.
Lisa Runyon

- Lisa Turner Runyon

Eddie was only four years older than me and lived just around the corner where Max and Dee Grose lived, yes we were neighbors living in a small Utah town of Park City. We were lucky to be raised in a small town with unassuming residents enjoying a blissful life not hampered by wealth. Eddie has a model A ford we used to drive on the R/R tracks up deer valley by Wheelers, well we tried to keep the narrow tires on the rails and see how far we could drive. As we got older we worked for my dad at his ski lift, loading chairs, or the motor houses in winter and cutting brush and trees making new runs in the summer. I moved away shortly after high school, was drafted in the Army during Viet Nam. Visited Ed in 1975, we went to Park visited all Day with Ken Webb recalling some scout trips we went on. In Salt Lake Ed and I hauled large rocks from little cottonwood canyon to his yard as he wanted to build a rock wall where he kept horses. Today that pile of rocks is hidden under tall trees that grew up somehow as the wind blew soil and water in that unplanned for stand of trees. I can't write all the things we did, I loved Eddie as did everyone else who knew him

- Dick Carpenter

On behalf of the Art Committee and Ed’s many friends ‘under the trees’, let me express our deep sadness at losing such a great fellow artist. Your friendship and conversation was always deep and lasting, your work incomparable and you are much missed!

- Charles Pyle