Richard Owen Fitch, 71, of North Cape May, New Jersey, formerly of Woodbury, New Jersey, passed away May 27, 2020, after a 5 year battle against cancer.
He is survived by his wife Linda Fitch, his children Betsy and Craig Aumack of Piscataway, NJ, and Sean and Aubrey Fitch of Clarksboro, NJ, his grandchildren Aubrey, Lauren, Owen, Eleanor and Ryan, and his brothers Dave (Linda) and Mike (Jackie).
Rich was born in Denver, Colorado to Charles and Betty Fitch and grew up in Maryland, spending summers with family on the Oregon Coast. He met his wife Linda Staepel while attending Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science. He earned his Bachelor's degree in 1970 and his Masters degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1976. During the Vietnam War, Richard served in the Coast Guard. Richard and Linda were married in June 1973 and lived in Maryland, Texas, and Pennsylvania before settling in Woodbury in 1978.
Rich worked as an analytical chemist for 10 years with Air Products and Witco, traveling around the world to troubleshoot chemical processes. A lifelong love of learning and educating others led Mr. Fitch to become a high school chemistry teacher through New Jersey's alternate program. The many students who passed through his classes over the years included his two children. After teaching at Woodbury High School for 12 years, he joined the faculty of Lindenwold High School when it opened in 2001, soon becoming supervisor of the science department. He was an active community member, supporting his children in their many activities. He rarely missed a game, meet, or event.
There were no in-laws in our family, so when Betsy and Sean married, he gained a son in Craig and a daughter in Aubrey.
Always inventive, Rich's tinkering and subsequent creations earned him the nickname Inspector Gadget and drew comparisons to Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor. He was a professional at losing, crashing or sinking any toy with a remote control.
Annual family camping trips provided his family with memories that will be cherished always. Rich never missed an opportunity to visit the Oregon Coast to see family.
In keeping with his Maryland roots, Rich always loved sharing a crabfest with family and friends.
Rich enjoyed being a licensed HAM radio operator, talking to people all over the world, including his father in Oregon.
While summering in Oregon as a teenager, Rich learned to drive in his grandfather's 1962 Pontiac Catalina. Later, he passed his love of antique cars to his son and the two spent many hours working on Sean's first car - a 1962 Pontiac Catalina. Over the years, he worked on many cars, including a 1989 Toyota 4Runner that he restored with Craig.
After he retired, Rich enjoyed setting up his garage office (dubbed the garage mahal), going to the Flight Deck Diner, creating a drip system, gardening, fishing, watching the Phillies, taking a once in a lifetime flight in a B-17, and loving his 5 grandchildren.
Graveside services and military honors will now be held on Saturday, May 20th, 2023, at 12p at Eglington Cemetery, 320 Kings Highway, Clarksboro, NJ, 08020, where friends and loved ones are invited.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Richard
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Evoy Funeral Home