It's all in the nameMore
I am writing this as my memories and thoughts after David’s untimely passing. David P as he was affectionately known in the office, was employed by Fraser & Fraser from the day after his 23rd birthday on 14th March 1971. David was our third ever employee and remained with us for some 44 years. What some of you won’t know is that David was a member of my family, he was Nathan (my father) and Simon’s (my uncle) second cousin, and so the genealogists amongst us will have worked out that he was my third cousin once removed descending. Fraser & Fraser were working with Jack Pacifico, David’s brother, who was the firm’s accountant at the time, and we were informed that David, who was working as an estate agent, could be an asset to the business. Little did we know at the time that David would be more than an asset, but an integral part of Fraser & Fraser until his retirement in March 2015.
What you also won’t know is that David’s wife Linda is a friend of my mother’s, and was working for the General Register Office in Southport where my mother Eileen was originally from. She transferred from the General Registry Office in Southport to London to work in Somerset House and Linda who also worked for the GRO approached my mother to ask what it was like, and if she would like it there. Although having spoken to both my mother and my father, I was surprised to learn that it was not through the association at Somerset House that Linda and David first met, some would say it was pure fate.
David was a man of routine, he was the first to arrive at the office unlocking the doors, and the last to leave. I remember on one occasion when Tony and Grimble, our two other case managers for the majority of David’s career, decided to see just how long David would work. They were determined that they were going to be in the office longer than he was, and as they continued their work David made no sign of standing up to leave, when an hour and half later when the three of them were still working away, the only people left in the office as all the staff had long since gone home, they gave up. Tony and Grimble packed up, said their goodbyes and went on, five minutes later David also stood up, locked the door and left. He was determined not to miss out on anything and continued to be part of the fixtures of Fraser & Fraser. This is just one of the many jokes played around the office both on David and by David, and he took them all in good humour.
There were of course other ongoing tricks played by Tony such as placing the contents of every single hole punch in the office into David’s umbrella, and waiting for him to open it and be showered with confetti the next time it rained. Sometimes it could be weeks between laying the trap and David eventually walking into the office covered in confetti. There was the key ring that beeped every time somebody whistled that was hung underneath David’s desk, quite annoying for me as David’s desk was immediately behind mine, and the key ring hung underneath David’s desk until eventually it ran out of batteries about a year later.
There was of course the infamous occasion when David, having missed out on birthday cakes that were and still are a tradition within Fraser’s, that Tony decided to post a doughnut to him, and two days later when David was back in the office and the doughnut was delivered, poor Linda was left to deal with a white jiffy bag oozing a strange substance that somehow led to the bomb squad being called before eventually Tony came clean, and David had the unenviable task of explaining to Linda that it was all a joke.
David was incredibly enthusiastic, especially when a new case came into the office, this enthusiasm can never be matched. As soon as new work arrived he would race downstairs shouting out “new case” and getting incredibly excited and anxious ensuring that Fraser & Fraser were going to be the first people to contact the beneficiaries. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm led to several inanimate objects being harmed, I can remember the printer when the toner exploded all over the office, the filing cabinet whose door David somehow managed to pull off, and the dehumidifier whose contents of water spilled all over the floor. But this was because he truly did love his job, you will never meet a person who is more knowledgeable or devoted to tracing family and to making contact with potential beneficiaries. David was not only my mentor when I moved into case management, but he also mentored several of the case managers who are still working at Fraser & Fraser. He was a man who just couldn’t turn a case down. Even when he was looking to retire at the age of 66, a few years after his peers had laid down their pens, and David was under strict instructions not to start any new matters but instead just to finish off the ones he was working on, I remember coming down on the first day when he was not to be taking on any new cases, to find him embedded in a family tree and working a new case. To say he was keen would be an understatement.
In the 44 years that David worked for Fraser’s I know of only two instances of him being sick, the first when he broke his leg but having taken a few days off sick he still managed to come into the office, I believe driving his canary yellow Ford Escort Cabriolet, and when he arrived at the office he got someone else to park it for him. There was a second time when he was so ill that the other staff in the office spoke to my father and insisted that he sent David home, I think he was back a day later having recovered somewhat.
David was an incredibly proud man, proud that he had worked in the industry longer than anyone else. Proud that he had found more heirs than anybody else, we think about 15,000 over his 44 years. Proud that he held the record for the case of Edwards with the smallest share given to a beneficiary of 1/11500, it worked out to be less than £5. And proud of his starring role in the Heir Hunters TV programme, I have heard he even held Heir Hunters parties where he invited friends over to watch the programme, and he never stopped telling us when somebody had recognised him in the street.
I am incredibly proud to say that I worked with him, and he will be deeply missed. I miss his passion, not just for the job but for Tottenham Hotspur football club, which I cannot understand, he was a true legend of our industry and probably the only person who will ever have a football chant sung at him by the staff on the day he left, “David Pacifico he is magnifico, David Pacifico”.
I know the thoughts and wishes of all the Fraser family and our staff are with Linda and Jake as this sad time.