Henry S. Fitch2019-02-12T01:22:44+00:00
Henry S. Fitch1909-2009
Henry Sheldon Fitch, 99, of Lawrence, Kansas, one of the premier herpetological ecologists to grace the earth, passed away on 8 September 2009, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He was born 25 December 1909, the son of Chester Fitch and Alice T. (Chenery) Fitch in Utica, New York. After a childhood outside of Medford, Oregon, he received his B.A from the University of Oregon and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He then worked as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the San Joaquin Range in California. His career was interrupted by two tours of army duty in World War II, after which he returned to the San Joaquin Range. He married Virginia Preston in 1946, and shortly afterward was transferred to Leesville, Louisiana.
In 1948, he assumed a professorship at the University of Kansas where he taught and served as steward of the University of Kansas Natural History Reservation. Although his primary interest was in herpetology, he published papers in community ecology, mammalogy, and ornithology, and he even wrote a book on the spiders of the KU Natural History Reservation. He retired from KU as Emeritus Professor in 1980 but continued to live and work at the Natural History Reservation until 2006.
Survivors in the immediate family include his sons, John and Chester, his daughter, Alice, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Virginia, and his three siblings, Chester, Margaret, and Ruth preceded him in death.