Morrell W. Fitch Jr.

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Morrell W. Fitch Jr. Mo Fitch, born Morrell W. Fitch Jr. was born April 18, 1937, at home in Westminster, CA. He lost his courageous battle with pancreatic cancer June 28, 2013, surrounded by friends, family and firefighters. Mo always saw the positive side of life, even through his toughest battles, making all around him smile, cracking jokes, loving people. He loved to dance, sing, play, it was his nature. Mo loved life and he loved his family, friends and his Heavenly Father. He seemed to exist to serve others. At age 17, Mo won Field N Stream Northern Division Bass Tournament 1st Place Irvine Lake for catch of a 12 pound large mouth bass. At 17 he joined the United States Navy, served on an LST in the Pacific during the Korean War. July 1, 1957, 10 days after discharge, Mo was employed by the California Department of Forestry in Orange County, CA. Mo attended Chaffey College, Fresno State, and U.C. Berkeley. After many years of attending colleges, on his off duty time, he achieved his Bachelors of Science degree with a major in Fire Administration. Mo married, had five children, and continued in the Fire Service, working for city and state fire departments for 30 years, such as CA State Fire Marshall's Office, training and developing fire standards and instruction manuals, the Office of Emergency Services as an Assistant Fire Chief assisting in the management of major disasters such as wild fires, floods, earthquakes, and mudslides. In 1987 Mo retired from the Office of Emergency Services going on to Mt. San Antonio College, Southern California as an educator and Fire Science Coordinator. Wanting to move away from the traffic, smog, and hustle bustle of Southern CA, Mo was approached by a headhunter to work as Fire Chief in Sonoma County, which he accepted. Mo remarried in 1994 to Sherry L. McCleary. In 1995 Mo was hired as the first paid Fire Chief for Upper Lake Fire District. In 2000, Mo retired and went on to encourage the local colleges to start a Fire Science program, which after a few years was instituted. Mo taught these classes, along with certification classes, at Yuba and Mendocino Colleges. During Mo's career he built and taught large Oil Fire Schools throughout the state, burned up several city blocks in Burbank as a fire training exercise, making way for the World Fair to take place there, participated in developing California Standard Certification programs and Fire Officer Programs, and delivered 13 babies. Up until this season, Mo had been a part-time lookout for the U.S. Forest Service in the Mendocino National Forest on Highglade Lookout for several seasons consecutively. In May of 2009, Mo was diagnosed with a terminal disease, pancreatic cancer. March 1, 2011, Mo was awarded a Proclamation by the Lake County Board of Supervisors for his "body of work." Mo continued his involvement in his community, serving as a member of the Upper Lake Town Council since 1995 and was also on the Board for the North Shore Fire Protection District. Mo leaves behind his "bride" of 19 years, Sherry; children, Michael Fitch, Marshall Fitch, Mo the 3rd, Michelle Allen, and Mona Gaskins; stepsons, Kip McCleary, and Kirk McCleary, and all of their wonderful spouses and children. He leaves behind a progeny of 24 grandchildren and one great-grandson. Mo was very proud of his Choctaw Indian heritage and even took language classes online. Mo Fitch will always live within us, for the gifts of himself that he gave us, the lessons and example he was to us all. Visitation will be from 9-10:30 a.m., Saturday, July 6, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints located at 600 16th St., Lakeport. Funeral service to follow at 11 a.m. Interment at Upper Lake Cemetery. For further information call Chapel of the Lakes at 263-0357 or 994-5611 or visit Please share your memories by signing the guestbook at
Funeral Home
Chapel Of The Lakes
1625 North High Street Lakeport, CA 95453
(707) 263-0357
Funeral Home Details
Published in Lake County Record-Bee from July 2 to July 8, 2013
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