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Stuart Fitch

May 21, 1924 – March 19, 2010

The Reverend Stuart Fitch, former rector of St. Mary’s Church, Lompoc (1968 to 1989), died on March 19. He was 86.

Survivors include his wife, Nancy Fry Fitch; their children, Susan, Robert and Richard; a sister, Barbara Hildebrand of Manteca, California; and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at St. Mary’s at a future date. Services were held today at Saint John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Aptos, Calif.

After his 1989 retirement from St. Mary’s, Stu and Nan Fitch moved to Douglas City in Trinity County, California, where Stu served at St. Phillip’s Mission in Weaverville until it closed three years later. They then lived in Santa Cruz, where Fitch assisted at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, spending most summers in Trinity County.

While at St. Mary’s, Fitch, a licensed marriage, family and child counselor, also served as director of the St. Mary’s Community Services and Counseling Center.

Before becoming rector at the Lompoc parish, Fitch was rector of St. Luke’s Church, Monrovia for 10 years. His interests included youth ministry, adult education, pastoral counseling, prison ministry, and Cursillo. He also was a peace activist and civil rights advocate throughout his life.

Fitch attended Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and was ordained in 1953. He and Nan had been married in 1952, and after ordination the couple moved to Utah, where he served several mission congregations.

Born on May 21, 1924 in Pasadena, California, Fitch attended primary and high school in Pasadena before joining the Navy in 1943. After the war he attended Stanford University, where he received bachelor and master degrees in social science journalism. In 1948 he became a reporter for the Honolulu (Hawaii) Star Bulletin, a position he held for two years before beginning seminary studies.

Fitch requested that any memorial donations be made to the Columbarium Wall at St. John’s (Santa Cruz) or that his friends “do a special act of kindness for another.”