Raymond Fitch
September 20, 2015

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  Raymond Earl Fitch, 89, passed away on Sunday morning, September 20, 2015. Ray Fitch was intensely involved in his community and was passionate about his country. Ray was born in Woburn, the son of the late Walter and Dorothy (Sewall) Fitch. His mother had deep roots in Burlington and her family’s home is part of the Town seal. Ray grew up in Wilmington, and after graduating from Wilmington High School, Ray served in the US Navy during WW II. He enlisted in March of 1943 and served until June of 1946. He served on the USS Loy as an Electrician’s Mate Third Class. He was the recipient of the WW II Victory Medal, American Theater Medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal with 1 Star, and the Philippine Liberation Medal. On the USS Loy, a Destroyer Escort, Ray and his fellow crewmates fought in the invasion of Okinawa, rescued survivors of the USS Darry, participated in convoys, and fought off numerous suicide plane attacks, some of which damaged the ship and claimed the lives of 18 crew mates. He was very proud of his service and the strong bond he had with his crewmates. He faithfully attended every USS Loy reunion until 2015, and continued his support of the military as a member of the DAV, American Legion, and VFW.

Ray returned home to marry his wife, Myra, a Canadian immigrant, who he had met as she visited her Aunt who lived next door. They settled in Burlington in 1949 to raise their family. Ray used his electrical training from the military and started his own company, Fitch’s Electrical in Burlington. The town was so small, that Ray worked on everything from toasters to residential and commercial wiring and repair. He took on a new position with Charles River Breeding Lab, where he was employee number 8 at the first location in Wilmington. Over his 34 years with the company, it grew to thousands of employees with large modern facilities and Ray became their Chief Electrical Engineer and Facilities Manager. He loved his work, traveled to their other facilities, and consulted for them after his retirement. Ray was truly one of those special men that Tom Brokaw described in his reference of the “Greatest Generation.” He lived through the Great Depression, fought for his country, worked hard after returning, and served his community. He, like the many others of his generation, did all this not for fame, but because it was the “right thing to do.” Ray was a worker and a believer in the good that an individual or group can accomplish. Ray was a member of the Burlington Lions Club, Simonds Lodge of Masons, Shriner’s in Wilmington, Aleppo Temple, Scottish and Abbot Rites, The Odd Fellows, and the Wilmington Rotary Club. Not only was he a member, but participated fully in the activities, events, and charities of these organizations. For example, in his 63 years with the Rotary Club, he had perfect attendance. In his final days, club members came to him at the Hospital and Assisted Living facility, just so Ray could be a part of the meetings. Ray was generous to a fault. He was generous with his time and wealth. He could never say “No” to a charity, especially if it involved animals. Believe it or not, he was a charter member of the New England Aquarium. Some would joke, that he was also a faithful supporter of the MA State lottery. He did receive many awards and recognitions for his efforts, which he did appreciate, but never expected. Ray was also a man devoted to his family. He was devoted to his wife, Myra, whom he affectionately called “Miss America.” They shared 57 years together raising their children, and helping with their grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even a few great great grandchildren. He was always there for his family whether they needed advice, a helping hand, or comfort. Ray often took the family to vacation at their home on Baboosic Lake in Merrimack, NH and enjoyed visiting family in Prince Edward Island, where wonderful and meaningful memories were shared by all. He enjoyed vegetable gardening and growing fruit trees. He also enjoyed hunting with his brother when they were younger. What he loved most was seeing his family continue to grow over his 89 years.

Ray was the beloved husband of the late Myra Jane (MacDonald). Loving father of Daniel & his wife Arlene of North Port, FL, CarolAnn Wagstaff & her husband Bernie of Wilmington, David of Billerica, April Graffeo & her husband Michael of Lynnfield, and Joanne of Winchendon, MA. Brother of Geraldine McKenna of Gilford, NH & her late husband James, Bobby & his wife Wendy of Wells, ME, and the late Norma Connors & her late husband Morton. Proud grandfather of Mindy Simard & her husband Henry, Angel Wilgus & her husband Phil, Danielle Wiitala & her late husband Herman, Rachel Fitch, Rob Blenkhorn, Britt Fitch & his wife Lauren, Kristel Hammond & her husband Tom, Jason Fitch, Evie Blenkhorn, Savannah Gosselin, Amber and Dylan March, Larry and Joey Graffeo. Also survived by 16 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Funeral services will be held at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, BURLINGTON (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Thursday, September 24 at 11 a.m. visiting hours Wednesday from 3-7 p.m. Interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Ray’s name may be made to Sanborn Place, Home Care, & Day Svcs. 50 Bay State Rd, Reading MA 01867.

Family Remembrance by April

A Eulogy

To a good man from the greatest generation

Thank you all who have gathered here today to say goodbye to my father; Raymond Earl Fitch.

You may know me, I own a large salon in Andover and I used to cheer for the Patriots. Well if my dad was here thats what he’d say, he would pretty much say that to anyone who would listen. He said it to his hospice nurse. He was super proud of me.

I was lucky to be his daughter, I was raised by a good man, one who never had an enemy, one made friends everywhere he went. He was a proud man, proud of his family, his faith, his roots, and his time spent fighting for our country.

My father served in the US Navy during WW11 . He enlisted in 1943 and served until 1946. His ship was called the USS Loy and he served as an Electrician’s Mate third class. He was the recipient of the WW11 Victory Medal, American Theater Medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal with one star, and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

On the USS Loy, a Destroyer Escort, my dad and his fellow cremates fought in the invasion of Okinawa, rescued survivors of the USS Darry, participated in convoys, fought off numerous plane attacks, some of which damaged the ship and claimed the lives of 18 crew mates. he faithfully attended every USS Loy reunion until 2015. He continued his support of the military as a member of the DAV, American Legion, and VFW.

After his time at war he returned home to marry his wife, my mom, a Canadian immigrant, They settled in Burlington in 1949 to raise their family. My dad used his electrical training from the military and started his own company, Fitch’s electrical in Burlington. The town was so small, that he worked on everything from toasters to commercial wiring.

Next he took on a position at the Charles River Breeding Lab in Wilmington he was the 8th employee hired, over his 34 years with the company it grew to serval thousand employees with a large modern facilities and he became their Chief Electrical Engineer and Facilities Manager. He traveled to their other facilities and stayed a consultant after retirement. He was proud of his company and grateful always for it provided him with a paycheck each week for his family. He loved his work, he had great work ethic, I don’t ever remember him calling out a day. He was a hard worker and I am proud of him for that.

He was definitely one of those special men that are described as being from the “Greatest Generation” He lived through the Great Depression, Fought for his country, work hard after returning, and served his community. He like many others of his generation did it simply because “it was the right thing to do”

My Dad was a member of the Burlington Lions Club, Simonds Lodge of Masons, Shriner’s in Wilmington, Aleppo Temple, Scottish and Abbot Rites, The Odd Fellows, and the Wilmington Rotary Club. Not only was he a member but participated fully in the activities, events, and charities of these organizations. For example, in his 63 years with the Rotary Club, he had perfect attendance. They displayed a great deal of respect for him, and In his final days, club members came to him at the Hospital and Assisted Living facility, just so Ray could be a part of the meetings. He was also a full supporter of the MA State lottery. He received many awards and recognitions for his efforts, which he always appreciated, but never expected.

With all these things he still found time to raise a huge family and create lasting memories with us. My MOM, Miss America who my dad was married to for 57 years I’m sure was eagerly awaiting his arrival in heaven with peanut butter toast in hand.. He relished the good things in life, family, food, travel, his vegetable gardening, a little hunting, playing cards, and 100% truly enjoyed his friends at the Babossic lake, the” camp”.

My memories of my dad include Being at the camp swimming and fishing, and tricking my sister Joanne on the way there by pretending we changed the radio with our telepathic powers. I remember him pulling the boat while my brother David would water ski, and David taking us all to the Bahamas. We traveled alot to see my uncle and in aunt in Maine, and to visit relatives in Prince Edward Island. One of my favorite memories, was the wonderful speech Danny made at my dads retirement party (the day I found out that my dad had and entire other life that did not revolve around us)! All of these people that I had never met but he seemed to know so well, i couldn’t imagine how he found the time. I was touched how lovingly Danny prepared his home for handicap accessibility.

Carolann was the lucky receipant of so many fantastic memories as she would take him everywhere she went, even in his later years when he wasn’t very mobile. The one that stands out the most to me was at Foxwood’s when he had Carolann paged, She panicked when she heard her name on the loud speaker and hiked across the massive casino, up to the 34th floor around the corner, into the room, only to hear my dad; “Carolann….I need orange juice”

Before my wedding, I had completely prepared myself for the overwhelming emotion that I expected would wash over me when I walked down the aisle, heard the music, saw all of my the friends the family, but what i had not anticipated was my Dad. As soon as the coordinator said Mr. Fitch you can bring your daughter out he loudly burst out tears and sobbed down the entire way down the aisle, completely ruining my mascara!

If you read the paper,he obituary reads my dad was survived by, but i am going to change that and say my dad survived 5 children, 14 Grandchildren, 16 Great Grandchildren, and 2 Great Great Grandchildren.

I think my Dad truly enjoyed his last weeks as Carolann and Arlene “his favorite daughter-in-law (his only) spent nights and days with him at the hospital, he was not on medications and seemed to be in less pain than he been in for years. He enjoyed his nurses and over the past years seemed to have made quite an impact on them, most of them visited on their days off and several became very close parts of our family, He had some very special caretakers and special friends.

My sister Carolann did so much for my father and would be there for hours doing laundry grocery shopping taking him to Dr appointments and such and i would stroll in a few days later with a dish of food and he would gloat and say, look what April did!

So as fate would have, it I flew in and out each week over the summer and fill him in on my travels. Hi dad little fun excitement and ill see you in a few days I’m headed to New York, hi dad I’m be back in a few days the boys have a hockey tournament, but this last time i came in i kissed him and said ill be back in a few day he took every last ounce of strength and opened his eyes and said “no, say goodbye” put his arms up and hugged me., as a man of his word he was gone right before i returned, i feel like i got the best goodbye of all.

He was blessed to have so many great people in his life that it would take me a week to pay the proper tribute to you all and the way you touched his life, so let me just say thank you for being here and thank you for sharing in his life

It was an honor to be the one to speak on my dad’s behalf, and-I know he expected me too. In closing I am just as proud of my dad as he was of me.

Farewell DAD, you did a great job, you did real good.

 
       
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