SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. - Harold Wendell Fitts, 88, of South Pebble Beach Boulevard, died Jan. 20, 2014, at the Lifepath Hospice there. His family had been at his bedside. Wendell, as he was known, was a longtime Barre City and Barre Town resident and well-respected businessman in the central Vermont area.
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Born April 8, 1925, in Barre City, he was the son of Harold W. and Alice (Downing) Fitts. He graduated from Spaulding High School in 1943, and following his Army service during World War II, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in commerce and economics from the University of Vermont in Burlington, in 1950.
Wendell later served with the 43rd Infantry National Guard Division for 12 years, retiring as a captain.
In 1946, he married Doris "Ding" Paterson in Barre, where they spent most of their married life. Following his retirement from the family business, the Homer Fitts Co., in December of 1986, they summered at their cottage at Lyford Pond in Walden and wintered in Sun City Center, Fla., where "Ding" died in December of 1997.
Following Ding's death, he met Edna Royle, and they married in 2003.
Wendell will always be remembered for his long association with the family business, the Homer Fitts Co., which was founded by his grandfather. He was a co-owner with his brothers, Homer and Stanley Fitts, and sister, Barbara Corrigan, and served the company from 1950 to 1986. He had been honored as an outstanding retail merchant, along with the president of the Sears-Roebuck Co., by the National Retailers Association at their annual convention before he retired.
He enjoyed times with family, playing golf and good times with friends, and in his travels with Ding, they made many new friends who are scattered around the world.
Being active in his community was reflected by his memberships in the Barre Rotary Club and being a past district governor of Rotary, The Barre Lodge of Elks, the Canadian Club, the York Rite Masons, Barre community baseball and the Lighthouse Association.
He and Ding hosted more than two dozen foreign exchange students through their affiliation with the AFS program and Rotary International.
Besides his second wife, Edna, in Sun City Center, Fla., he and Ding are survived by their six children: Wendy Marcotte and her husband, Jerry, and Stephen Fitts and his wife, Susan, all of Sun City Center, Donald Fitts and his wife, Nancy, of Sarasota, Fla., David Fitts, of Sacramento, Calif., Robert Fitts and his wife, Terri, of Maitland, Fla., and Scott Fitts and his wife, Mary, of Wilmington, Del.; as well as 16 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren who loved him dearly.
Also surviving is his stepdaughter, Lois Marquardt, of St. Louis, Mo., and two brothers, Homer Fitts and Stanley Fitts, and nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his sister, Barbara Corrigan, and stepson, Donald Royle.
Wendell's life was celebrated Jan. 21, 2014, at the Lifepath Hospice House, and a service of remembrance and interment is planned this summer in Barre, at a time to be announced.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Lifepath Hospice of Sun City Center, 3725 Upper Creek Road, Sun City Center, FL 33573.
The Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy St., Barre, is assisting his family with the arrangements.
Hooker & Whitcomb Funeral Home
7 Academy Street Barre, VT 05641
Published in Times Argus on Feb. 11, 2014