Denise - Fraser

Sep 5, 1963 - Mar 16, 2021


Denise Carleton Fraser of Sacramento, California, formally from Mission, Kansas, passed away on March 16th, 2021, from a long battle with a rare form of Appendix Cancer.

Denise lived her life to its fullest potential, and by her own rules. She had many passions in life, but fitness was her favorite. She worked in the fitness industry for over 30 years of her life. She worked at several fitness studios throughout her lifetime, including being a personal trainer, and instructor for Fierce Funk dance classes. Denise also strived to reach the goals she set for herself in life, and had many accomplishments because of that, including starting her own fitness company in 2001 called, Fitzone Studio. She has also competed in Internal Physic League Fitness Contests twice and ended up being a contest winner her second year in 2019.

Denise is survived by her loving parents, Raymond and Irene Carleton, and her brother Dean (Jolynne) and niece Amanda Carleton. She is survived by her uncle Albert Gandara (Fay) and Erik Gandara, as well as her beloved dogs Gracie, Teddy, and Bodie. She is forever remembered by many extended family members, and friends. Rest well Denise, we will miss you.

There will be a funeral service held in memory of Denise on Monday, March 29th at 2:00pmPST via a live link.

There will be a Celebration of Denise’s life afterwards at 4700 Parkridge Road at 3:30pm, hosted by Jennifer Lang. All are welcome. Denise loved to run marathons for a cause, like the Sac Run to Feed the Hungry, or SPCA Doggy Dash. If you were wanting to make a memorial donation, please donate to one of these two foundations in her name. Thank you.

Please contribute to the online guestbook here>>>


  • Michael Polster says:

    Denise was a great friend that will be truly missed. She was always happy and a great person to be around. I have many fond memories that I will forever treasure. The month of September for our birthday celebrations will never be the same. RIP

  • Mary says:

    My dearest Denise, she was the light of my life. She defiantly felt a part of our family. She will be missed forever. My heart goes out to the entire Carleton family. You certainly raised a beautiful, loving, caring and generous women. My heart will never be the same without her. I love her like a sister. Forever in my heart. I love you Denise Carleton Fraser.

  • Cecilia says:

    Such great high school memories with Denise. My sincerest condolences to all of you.

  • Ché says:

    The first time I saw Denise, I was all in. She loved Tahoe in the winter, summer, spring, and fall. One day, she came home with a little puppy. We named her Charlotte. Then, about 9 months later, she brought a little brown puppy home. I rolled my eyes. She loved dogs, and they loved her. We never left them behind. We snuck those kiddos into every hotel in Tahoe and skied our butts off. Denise was my best friend and more. Endless summers for days.

  • Amithyst says:

    Denise was a great friend and will be very missed. Spending hours with her weekly for years and years we became very close. She started as my trainer but in the end was much more than that. She always shined so bright and was such a positive person, it was infectious. We had so many moments of laughter and she was a great listener. I won’t ever stop holding her close in my heart.

  • Jennifer Lang says:

    Densie loved me unconditionally; I am honored and blessed to have been in her life and now in her forever. ❤️🙏🏼

  • Kristin Power says:

    Denise had an internal light she shined on everyone she knew. Quick with a smile, her boundless joy and love of life were her hallmarks. Always a highlight of my day to dance with her. My deepest condolences to the Carleton family and prayers of peace. 💜

  • Susan Gill-Zobitz says:

    Denise was a lovely and fierce being through and through, with a smile that lit up the room and warmed hearts with the sheer power of authenticity. She has left a lasting legacy of strength and inspiration for all who knew her. May she be free to dance for all eternity.

  • Mel says:

    Denise was so much goodness. She taught me so much about courage and love. She never judged me and always supported her community. She was my warrior sister ❤

  • Julie says:

    A light that can’t be out out I met her as a trainer and became fast friends she gave me so much that I needed in time of a lot of turbulence in my life. I saw her a few times a week to work out but basically she saved me in so many ways, what a beautiful sole she will always shine bright in my heart ❤️ And I will never forget or take fie granted what she taught me… and it wasn’t Weights that’s just the way she touched all of our souls I will miss you my dear friend ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Mitsy Donnelly says:

    Denise was my first friend in life. She was a fantastic and beautiful friend who was truly loved by everyone.

    Heaven gained a true angel.

  • Rosanna Caldwell says:

    Irene, Ray, Dean and family – We are so sorry for the loss of your lovely daughter and sister. May the good Lord grant you peace and comfort in the coming days and years ahead. Love to you all.

  • Linda McElroy says:

    Sincere and deep condolences to Denise’s family and many friends. It was always so fun to attend her Fierce Funk class and be in her presence for other movement events. She really did have a light about her…and that smile! Denise will be greatly missed.

  • Rachael Kelley says:

    Dearest Irene,Ray, Dean,Jolynne and Amanda,
    My heart goes out to you along with love,hugs and prayers.Denise was such a special young lady we will miss her and her wonderful smile she always seemed to wear she never gave up she fought a hard fight.
    Heaven truly has another Special Angel.You will always be in our hearts.

  • Stephanie Roberson says:

    Denise was the all around well rounded friend. Always positive, smiling and motivating. She loved to dance, watch and play sports and stay fit and active. Who knew she was an expert bird catcher (inside joke). I’ll miss her deeply. Love you big D.

  • Kelly Girard says:

    I am eternally grateful for all the adventures I’ve had with Denise. Whether it was traveling to Central America or simply a walk in the neighborhood, the journey was always fun and full of laughter. As roommates way back when, we often talked late into the night brainstorming creative solutions to world problems. She taught me how to give a proper hug “no patting” was the rule. Even going months without seeing her at times, we’d always pick right back up where we left off. I miss her dearly while happy knowing her spirit is dancing free.

  • Kerry (Priddy) Britton says:

    Denise was one of those friends you never forget. For 4 years she and Dean were constant and “thick as thieves” friends to my brother and I on our little street in Mission. Most any day, the 4 of us could be found either in the Carleton house or in our backyard. Dean and Denise went on vacation with us to Roaring River State Park one year and we caught a lizard, which we begged my parents to keep by promising he would be a shared pet. Lou the Lizard was a great companion until the day he was accidentally left outside in his aquarium and succumbed to the heat. Dean, Denise, my brother Kirk, and I held a solemn funeral service, burying Lou under our treehouse tree beneath the peony bush in a plastic crayon container. Later, Denise and I decided to dig up Lou’s casket so we could see his decomposed body; despite making several holes in the ground, we never found the plastic container holding Lou’s remains.

    Denise introduced me to Donny Osmond and the Osmond brothers. One of our favorite activities was to pretend we were going on a date with some of the Osmond boys. Somehow, Denise always got to date Donny while I had to choose one of his older brothers. The posters of the Osmonds on Denise’s walls came in handy for our pretend dates!

    Denise and I made many trips to the 7-11 to buy a dollar’s worth of candy, usually after we had convinced one of our parents to let us “work” for some spending money. We had many sleepovers at her house, giggling into the night, then waking up to the sound of Soul Train on the TV and the smell of fresh tortillas in the making. The many memories I have of Denise are special enough to last a lifetime and I will always be grateful to have known the light of her presence.

    Rest well, Denise, my forever friend.

  • Christopher Hanlon says:

    I consider myself very lucky having met Denise. She always had a smile ready to greet anyone. Consistently sharing her good disposition with others. Her limitless energy was contagious. And oh, that beautiful smile and infectious laugh.

    I have so many fond memories; whether it be her intense training sessions to get me in shape for Basketball Leagues, or nights out with friends at the next door restaurant or the silly times of walking thru the streets of Sacramento on Art Walk Nights with the group,…she was always the “life of the party”.

    Rest In Peace dear Denise.

  • Kerry says:

    We had the pleasure of meeting Denise at a couple gatherings at our neighbor’s home. She was vivacious and full of fun and laughter. Sending love to Denise’s family and friends.

  • Annette Wood says:

    I didn’t know Denise well. I met in in dance classes. She always stood out to me with her movements and her positive energy. I know she was loved by many and will be missed. Thank you Denise, for contributing to my life experience.

  • Kerry says:

    We had the pleasure of meeting Denise a couple of times at our neighbor’s parties. Denise was vivacious, friendly and full of fun. Sending love to her family and friends. May fond memories bring you comfort.

  • Ritu Jain says:

    I took Denise’s classes for many years at Step 1 Dance studio.
    She was a wonderful teacher / person.
    It has been an honor and privilege to have known Denise.
    Miss you my friend-

  • Sylvia J Langhammer says:

    Irene, Ray, Dean, Jolynne, Amanda,
    My heart aches for your loss, but watching the service today brought a joy for Denise’s infectious smile and zest for life. What a blessing she has been to the lives of all those who knew and loved her.
    Was also glad to hear she inherited the gene for being directionally challenged. Happy to know it is not just me and Rosanna. Love,
    Sylvia Langhammer

  • Hilary Wagner says:

    Rarely did Denise turn down an invitation for adventure. I remember one time she came out to our sailboat with Char-Char, and spent the night with us. When it was time to leave, we gave her perfect directions to get back to Sacramento, but she ended up in San Fransisco anyway! Yes, she was directionally challenged I will say! She was a truly kind, warm hearted person with an attitude of optimism always. I love that she had so many people love her. My condolences to all that loved her.

  • Glynis Stone says:

    Denise impacted my life more than she probably ever knew. I met Denise early in her time in Sacramento and she was my first step aerobics instructor. We had many laughs through my slow learning process and besides the moves, she taught me to never fear falling off the step. She lived her life in the same manner…never fear falling.

    Over the years we continued to work out together in her Boot Camp class and enjoyed dancing in Zumba and Fierce Funk classes. Her enthusiasm for life, positivity and desire to share her love for fitness was infectious.

    I really thought that she would beat this disease one more time and that we would dance together again. She will be forever in my heart as my Sport Bean buddy.

    My thoughts are with Denise’s family and friends today and always.

  • Toya B. says:

    Denise was and will always be a woman of courage, a woman of remarkable strength, and a light that shines so bright for others to see and follow. I feel so blessed to have known Denise, here spirit was so positive and she was always open to learning and doing new things. We danced, we laughed, we worked out, so many wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.

    Rest in heaven, Denise.❤️ I will always miss you.

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