In Memory

Richard Fitch

The following placed at the request of Tom Sander:

RICHARD FITCH Richard "Dick" Fitch, age 80, died at home on August 9, 2015. The eldest son of John and Ellen Fitch, Richard was born in New York City, and grew up mostly in New Rochelle. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, and Cornell University (Geology, 1956). In 1957, he married Dorothy "Dottie" Cohen. She joined him at Indiana University where he earned an M.S. Degree in Geology (1958). They moved to New Mexico when he became a geologist with Lance Corporation, on the Navajo reservation, near Smith Lake, NM. He was excited about exploring for, and finding ore bodies. Later he moved to the Santa Fe office, and they decided that this was the place where they wanted to live. Briefly, he worked for Mobil Oil Co., in Wichita Falls, TX, but left to go to UNM to obtain teaching credentials, which enabled them to return to Santa Fe, where they raised their family. He taught science and math at Harvey Junior High and Santa Fe Prep, lower school until 1973. During this time he began collecting old maps, which led to his 30-plus year career as an antiquarian map, print, and bookseller - along with his wife and business partner, Dottie. He published 56 well-researched catalogues, which became references for colleagues. Additionally, he started North by Southwest, which specialized in taking people on wilderness canoe trips in Canada (and several houseboat trips on Lake Powell). He introduced many people, including his family and friends, to the adventure of canoe camping. He may have been the only antiquarian map dealer to take four solo month-long canoe trips in the Canadian wilderness - starting at age 60. He and Dottie also took quite a few international trips, which he loved to plan, adding embellishments like hauling all his camping gear to Morocco, so he could camp with a Berber guide in the desert. At age 74 Dick got to take a long desired trip from Navajo Mountain to Rainbow Bridge, with a guide and two pack llamas. Dick was known for his energy and enthusiasm for whatever he was doing at the time - camping, canoeing, maps, travel, photography, collecting. Because he shared all this enthusiasm for his many pursuits, he provided his family an interesting and memorable life. We thank him for this and we miss him. Dick is survived by his wife of 58 years, Dottie, his son Charlie and partner Celeste Bradley, his son Tom and wife Christine, grandchildren Sierra, Eliza, and Zachary, and Zach's mom Joy Munson. Also, his brother Andy and wife Dominique, his brother Jon and wife Lucie,and his cousin Carla Hunt. And his in-laws Dick and Steph Cohen, Robby Cohen and Debby Peikes, and Steve Cohen and Nancy Beaubaire, plus many nieces and nephews. The family especially appreciates the kindness, help, and support of his friends during his Alzheimer's journey - his final portage. To remember Dick, the family suggests do a good deed, plant a tree, or donate to your favorite charity .

Published in Santa Fe New Mexican from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6, 2015

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