OBITUARY: Raymond Earl Fitch, 89

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.

Raymond Fitch

(NOTE: The above obituary and photo are from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home.)

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