Catherine Marie Fitch (Scoles), of Cheyenne, WY, formerly of Fairview and Fairmont, WV, Easton, PA, Metro Syracuse, NY, and Saco, MT, died on Saturday May 6th, 2017. She leaves behind her husband, children, and grandchildren to mourn their loss.
Catherine was born on March 11th, 1945, in Rochester, NY. Catherine was afflicted with polio and endured years of treatment uncomplaining. As a young child, Catherine moved to Montana. She spent many summers at her father’s parents’ large ranch, riding her horse to visit her best friend at a neighboring ranch. Catherine graduated high school in Saco and moved back to upstate NY to be with her beloved grandmother GingGing. She was very happy working as a technical typist for the Electrical Engineering department at Syracuse University. She had many friends at the University and there she met John Fitch, a university student. They married September 1st, 1968 in Saco, MT. They returned to the East coast for John’s work as a professor. He taught Syracuse University Summer School, and at Lafayette College in Easton, PA, and then they migrated to WV for a position at Fairmont State University, where he achieved tenure and later retired as professor emeritus, at which time he was the faculty member with the second-longest seniority at the university. Catherine adapted to her new life in West Virginia by making new friends, and applying herself to studies in nursing school, and through her strong work ethic developed an high level of expertise as an RN, BSN (ranking first in the state test score in her graduating year), which she devoted to the service of innumberable people through several medical institutions, such as MVA Health Centers - Fairmont Clinic, Fairmont General Hospital, Monongahela General Hospital, West Virginia University Hospital, Chestnut Ridge Psychiatric Hospital, People’s Hospice of Clarksburg, and United Hospital Center. She and John lived in Fairmont until their house was mostly destroyed in a flood. Then they moved to a farm outside of Fairview. After John’s retirement, they relocated to Cheyenne, WY, near their beloved son and his family.
Catherine cultivated many interests in her rich life. For many years she endured long commutes, on-call work, and dangerous drives on windy back-roads (and frequently with no guard rails) in the worst weather to treat her patients suffering chronic illnesses. She helped many families go through the process of their loved ones dying. She worked in the hospitals when they were still a very sexist environment, and helped AIDS patients from the beginning of the epidemic at a time when there was great stigma attached to giving treatment. She worked with the mental health population, and later worked in, and directed, a hospice program. Through all this she was a dedicated wife, and loving mother to three children, in whom she instilled a life-long love of learning, nature, self-reliance, and appreciation of her favorite writings, such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Rings, and the writings of C.S. Lewis. She never stopped taking on new projects and learning new skills. She was a member of many organizations, such as the Rare Breed Society, where she helped rare breeds of chickens survive on her farm (even against the attacks of predators); the Scottish Deerhound discussion list (roils, & roilhoomins); Italian Greyhound Rescue of West Virginia (Igrescue). She was one of the few people who could work “sheep to shawl”—raise the sheep herself, shear them, card their wool, spin it and crochet it into an afghan. She had an artistic eye for everything, with a refined sense of style. She was well-known for the complexity of her afghans, even receiving publicity in local newsprint (Fairmont Times West Virginian) and at the West Augusta Museum of Mannington, WV. She raised many exquisite breeds of pets and animals, including peacocks, alpacas, Jacob goats, Nubian goats, ferrets, a hedgehog (hedgies), incubators of various specialty eggs, and of course Suffolk, Finn, and other breeds of sheep. She studied Gaelic, was a regular contributing author to different dog publications—routinely penning, “The Reading Room,” for the IG Times magazine. She made a lovely, personalized cookbook for each of her children at the occasion of their weddings. She worked tirelessly to help her community in Fairview as secretary of the water commission to bring water to the rural area. Again she and John faced great sufffering united together when their barn burned down with most of their livestock and all the hay inside. With John by her side, she has faced daily pain from illness, including rheumatoid arthritis (for nearly forty years) with resilience. Her mother Amy taught Sunday School at Saco United Methodist church, and Catherine was a member of Diamond Street United Methodist Church in Fairmont, and the United Methodist Chapel in Fairview. She was a firm believer and active choir member (and soloist and duetist) and flutist, and participated in many Bible studies throughout the years, in which she had her best friendships.
Catherine is survived by her husband, John of Cheyenne, WY; daughter, Bethany (Jason) Zaborowski of Peoria, IL; daughte,r Sara Lillian (Michael) Tamir of Alameda, CA; son, Joshua (Amy) Fitch of Cheyenne, WY; grandchildren, Damiana, Laura, Jonathan, Avalynn, Janice, Madison, and a baby girl due this summer. She is survived by her siblings: Judith Nielsen, Helena MT, Janet Clark, Minneapolis, MN, Dale Scoles, Denver, CO, Leon Scoles, Helena, MT, Patrick Scoles, East Lawrence, GA, and Wade Scoles, Spokane, WA.
She is preceded in death by her parents Walter and Amy (Berdan) Scoles and infant brother, Alan Barkley.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be sent to one of Catherine’s favorite charities:
Wycliffe Bible Translators
in preference for the ministry of Nancy Bishop # 210779
PO Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32862
St. Labre Indian School
Choose the donation option “In Memory of,” and type in: “Catherine Fitch”
A graveside service will be held Tuesday, May 9th, at 10.00 am, at Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 4701 Christensen Road, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 82009. The memorial will be followed by a reception at Family Harvest Church, 320 W 23rd Street, Cheyenne, 82001 from 11.30-1.30 pm.