L.E. Fletcher, 84, former resident of Carlsbad, died in his home in Ruidoso Downs, N.M., on Saturday, May 15, 2010, after a long battle against lung cancer. Mr. Fletcher was born in rural Stevens County, Marlow, Okla., July 3, 1925, in the middle of what became known as the "roaring Twenties." He was the eldest of three children. Mr. Fletcher's family moved to Carlsbad, N.M., in the fall of 1930, transported from Oklahoma via Model A Ford coupe for the nominal fee of $20. Arriving in Carlsbad, the family moved into the stone Eddy House.
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On Aug. 20, 1943, at the age of 17, L.E. Fletcher enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was sent to Camp Pendleton, San Diego, Calif., for basic training. After boot camp, he was selected to be a member of the elite Sea-Going Marines. These Marines were trained for duty at the White House, Foreign Embassy and aboard warships (as military police, guards, gunners and orderlies for captains and admiral.
From 1943-1945, he was a Sea-Going Marine, assigned to the heavy cruiser USS Minneapolis. He participated in many major campaigns in the Pacific, including: Marshall Islands, Truk, Palau, Marianas, Saipan, Philippine Sea, Guam, Caroline Islands, Battle of Leyte Gulf, Lingayen Gulf, Bataan Corregidor and Okinawa.
By the end of his tour of duty, Mr. Fletcher had achieved the rank of Corporal in the USMC and received his Expert Rifle Qualification. He was very proud to have been a Marine and to have served his country during World War II.
Mr. Fletcher returned to Carlsbad, N.M., in 1945, and completed his high school education. After graduation, he worked at Potash Company of America (Asst. Chemist), later he owned Fletcher Construction. After retirement, he moved to Las Cruces, N.M., and ultimately settled in Ruidoso Downs, N.M., in July 1992. Mr. Fletcher spent many summers working at the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack.
Mr. Fletcher is survived by long time companion Patricia Neal; two daughters: Charlotte Banchi and husband, Dr. Michael of Cypress, Calif., and Barbara Fletcher of Carlsbad, N.M.; son, Matthew Fletcher of Carlsbad, N.M.; two granddaughters: Jennifer Banchi Castelluccio and husband, Mark of Maple Valley, Wash., and Angela Banchi of Oakland, Calif.; and two great-grandsons: Daniel and Brian Castelluccio. He is further survived by sister, Helen Egger of Apple Valley, Calif.; and brother, Harold Fletcher of Del Rio, Texas; numerous nieces and nephews and other family members. He was preceded in death by parents, Cecil and Doma (Cooper) Fletcher.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 20, 2010, at Denton-Wood Funeral Home.
Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, May 21, 2010, at Carlsbad Cemetery with Pastor Brad Coates officiating. Carlsbad Veterans' Honor Guard will provide Military Honors.
Denton-Wood Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to VFW Post #8703, 1916 San Jose Boulevard, Carlsbad, NM 88220 or
, 10501 Montgomery Blvd. NE #300, Albuquerque, NM 87111.
Condolences can be expressed at dentonwood.com.
Published in Carlsbad Current-Argus on May 19, 2010