Dozia Newton Frazier Jr., known as “Doc,” defied the stereotype that mathematicians are introverts. Loud and outgoing, he was passionate about math and always willing to help solve a problem.
As a civil engineer at a time when there were few African-Americans in the field, Mr. Frazier worked on projects ranging from the Civic Arena to the U.S. Steel Building and Chatham Center.
After he retired, he devoted himself to teaching as many as he could about math, the subject he loved.
Mr. Frazier died Saturday of congestive heart failure. He was 87.
Mr. Frazier was the son of Ethel Belcher Frazier and Dozia N. Frazier Sr. He grew up in the Hill District and graduated from Schenley High School in 1944.
A veteran of WW II, Mr. Frazier graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1950.
At Pitt, he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and the Druids, a secret society, and held a number of leadership positions.
He also was a member of the NAACP and was an outspoken Republican.
Mr. Frazier was a pioneer, leading the way for African-American engineers in Pittsburgh, said Bob Agbede, who taught at the Community College of Allegheny County alongside him in the 1980s.
When Mr. Agbede decided to start a business in Pittsburgh, Mr. Frazier provided invaluable advice. “Life is like a seesaw,” he told Mr. Agbede, who added that Mr. Frazier encouraged him to face challenges head-on.
He was a mentor to many and encouraged students to pursue jobs in science and technology, believing that anyone could be an engineer if they had a fundamental understanding of math, said his nephew-in-law Warner Mucklin.
When his daughter Dozita Frazier began studying computer science, Mr. Frazier was determined not to let her expertise outdo him and began teaching himself the subject. Soon, he became so proficient that he began teaching classes at CCAC.
Mr. Frazier also loved to tell jokes and was widely known for his sense of humor.
“He had one of those personalities that fills a room,” his nephew Evan Frazier said.
Mr. Frazier was always learning, constantly taking on new projects, ranging from solar power to computer programming.
About a month before he died, he had begun teaching himself Latin from a book, his daughter Lydia Frazier said.
In addition to his two daughters, he is survived by a sister Elsie Chatman of Silver Spring, Md.; brothers James Frazier of Homewood and Andrew Frazier of Stanton Heights; and two granddaughters.
A funeral service was held Thursday at Destiny International Ministries, followed by interment at Restland Memorial Park in Monroeville.
Stephanie McFeeters: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2533. On Twitter: @mcfeeters.