Kiwanis to remember Dick Fitch Friday with Celebration of Life

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Dick Fitch
Dick Fitch

The Kiwanis Club of El Centro will host a celebration on October 28 honoring the life and community contributions made by the late J.R. (Dick ) Fitch, longtime publisher of the Imperial Valley Press.

Fitch, 78, died in June in Kerrville, Texas.

The Kiwanis Club will dedicate its full meeting to the event. Friends, family and former colleagues of Fitch are invited to join club members for the luncheon meeting as guests of the club. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the El Centro PAL (Police Athletic League) Youth Facility at 1100 N. 4th St, El Centro and is scheduled to conclude about 1:30 p.m.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to Reliance Public Relations, Inc. at 760-693-5330 or to (bill.gay@reliancepr.com)

In addition to publishing the newspaper for more than 30 years, Fitch was active in the Kiwanis Club during his time in the Valley. He helped found the club’s Key Club at Central Union High School in 1963 and later served as both Kiwanis President and Lieutenant Governor.

Fitch also was president of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of a regional economic development agency that later became the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp.

At the Imperial Valley Press, Fitch lead the transition from the use of typewriters and the old letter press printing methods to computers in putting the newspaper together.

Among his many other innovations at the Press, he initiated one of the first newspaper consumer columns in the country and called it “Probe.” The column still runs in the Imperial Valley Press.

After his retirement in 1996, Fitch moved to Arizona, and then to Texas where he took on a part time job with the Kerrville newspaper running its Newspapers in Education Program. The publisher there said it became one of the most successful NIE programs in the state.

Fitch died June 26 after complications from a surgical procedure.