Thomas entered this life on July 3, 1946 in Denver, Colorado and entered into rest on December 26, 2013 at the age of 67 years in San Diego, California. He will be deeply missed by his daughter, Suzanne Atencio; son, Charles Fritch; granddaughter, Patricia Rose Atencio; brother, Frank Fritch; sister, Mary Peterson; and extended family and friends. Tom was recently preceded in death by his wife of 41 years, Patricia K. Fritch. Tom selflessly dedicated much of his life to helping others through his 24 year career as a doctor, which began at U.S.C. medical school. This dedication was nurtured while caring for some of America's most impoverished citizens in the hollers of Hazard County, Kentucky, flourished at Valley Medical Group in Lompoc, California where he experienced the great joy of delivering thousands of babies, and culminated at Group Health in Everett, Washington. He resided in Lompoc, California for 16 years, Mill Creek, Washington for 16 more, and spent the last seven years of his life spending the summers at his home on Lake Shoecraft in Stanwood, Washington and the winters in the San Diego area. Tom was a sports fanatic, and though his asthma kept him from participating in youth sports, he loved playing tennis and softball as an adult and had a long running "love/hate" relationship with golf. He was also a die-hard fan of the Lakers, Dodgers, and his beloved U.S.C. Trojans. Fight on! Moreover, Tom loved his gardens, and although more of a "brown thumb" then a green one, he tirelessly tended his rose bushes wherever he lived. Tom was not able to begin traveling outside the United States until after his retirement but loved meeting people from all cultures and backgrounds through his and Pat's years of involvement with Servas. They welcomed people from all over into their home to share meals and stories. Tom also found great joy in meeting people when he and Pat traveled extensively until their health no longer allowed it. We all loved hearing his stories of their time spent in Turkey, Italy, Nova Scotia, and many other places around the world. Tom was a proud board member and supporter of St. Vincent de Paul where he ran the thrift stores for Snohomish County, and the American Red Cross where he used his medical knowledge to counsel American servicemen as they learned of family health issues. He also was a faithful supporter of
and planned to work with the organization in treating the people of Uganda before Pat's untimely breast cancer diagnosis. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Mission San Luis Rey Parish, 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside, California. Cremation and Inurnment will be private. Should friends desire, donations may be made in memory of Dr. Thomas E. Fritch to;
at: www.doctorswithoutborders.org/? or by phone at Donor Services (212)763-5779.
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Published in The Herald (Everett) on Jan. 4, 2014