Eugene Brooks "Gene" Fitch, age 91, and resident of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, passed away Sunday night, April 28, 2014 at The Journey Home facility in Bartlesville.
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Gene was born August 17, 1922 at Tulsa, Oklahoma to Lloyd Doran Fitch and Mildred Jean (Brooks) Fitch. He grew up in Ochelata, Oklahoma and received his education there. Gene grew up with his cousin, Louis Brooks, Jr., who went on to be inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Gene went on to be a highly decorated member of the U.S. Army, being injured shortly after D-Day. He was a recipient of the Purple Heart, three Bronze Stars and the French Cross. Upon his honorable discharge, Gene was employed by Northup-Grumman, working on the Titan I & II missiles. He married Margaret Olivia "Maggi" Groebli on June 5, 1954 at Tulsa, Oklahoma. The couple lived in Colorado before moving to Ochelata, Oklahoma in 1972. Gene worked for TRW-Reda Pump in Bartlesville in the Inspection Department until his retirement in March of 1986. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Maggie, on January 15, 1987.
Gene was an original cast member of the Tulsa Spotlight Theater's presentation of "The Drunkard", portraying the antagonist, Harvey Green, when the show opened on November 14, 1953. It was through his long time involvement in the theater that he would later meet his second wife, Alaine Louise (Lucas) Lehmer and the couple married in Las Vegas on September 13, 1989. Alaine would precede him in death on April 30, 2003.
Gene was active in the VFW, Eagles Lodge and Moose Lodge. After his retirement, Gene called bingo at the Eagles Lodge and still volunteered at the Spotlight Theater. He also enjoyed his friends at Tallgrass Estates.
Survivors include one step-daughter, Jan Jewell and her husband, Kirk of Stillwater, Oklahoma; six grandchildren, Ryan Jewell of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Shane Jewell of Oklahoma City, Tony Lehmer and wife, Shayna of Bartlesville, Elaine L. Martindale and husband, Gregg of Edmond, Oklahoma, Chris Chipman and wife, Tina of Austin, Texas and John Chipman and wife, Larisa, also of Austin; and five great-grandchildren, Keaton Lehmer, Allison Martindale, Grace Martindale, Sam Chipman and Max Chipman. He was preceded by his parents; two wives; by a step-son, Steve Lehmer and a step-daughter, Karron Chipman.
Funeral service will be 2 p.m., Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Tom Cox officiating. Interment will follow in Ochelata Cemetery under the direction of Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home. Military rites will be accorded Mr. Fitch by James H. Teel American Legion Post 105 of Bartlesville. Friends who wish may donate to the Tulsa Spotlight Theater in memory of Gene and may call at the funeral home until 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday. To leave online condolences, go to www.honoringmemories.com.
Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home
710 Southeast Dewey Bartlesville, OK 74003
Published in Examiner-Enterprise from May 1 to May 31, 2014