Virginia Lien Fitch - age: 99
(March 25, 1917 to May 04, 2016
Virginia Lien Fitch passed away at home in the early morning of May 4, 2016, at the age of 99. She is well known in Ukiah where she has lived since 1950. She was one of the founding members of the Mendocino County Art Association and her colorful watercolors and acrylics decorate many local homes. She especially loved the water towers and buildings in the town of Mendocino.
She believed that if you could read, you could teach yourself how to do anything. She was an artist from an early age and was mainly self-taught. She was an excellent seamstress, making most of her own and daughter Kathys clothes. She also took up quilting and organized a group of women to make a quilt of county scenes which hung in the Grace Hudson Museum. For a while she made baskets. Her final creativity was put into her garden which was featured twice on the Ukiah Garden Club tours.
She taught third grade at Nokomis School for many years, retiring in 1980. She was a member of the Cultus Club, Garden Club, and the Presbyterian Church.
As a member of The Greatest Generation, she lived through the Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II. She was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota and went to Northern State Teachers College. Her first year of teaching she made $55 a month and lived rent free in the bell room of the schoolhouse. She had to ring the bell at the correct time so the townspeople could set their clocks.
She showed her spunk at an early age, when in 1937 she got a ride to San Francisco for $12, arriving to see the celebration for the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. She took art classes at Chouinard Art School for 6 weeks. She rode the Greyhound home with $5 in her pocket.
She met Ralph Fitch at a firemans dance in Hudson, SD. They were married on May 4, 1941. They moved frequently during the war and were in Alameda when the war in Europe ended. Ralph then worked for the FAA and they lived in Bryce Canyon, Utah, and Tucson, Arizona before moving to Ukiah.
They loved to travel and were among the first to visit China in 1978. They also went to East Africa, Japan, New Zealand, and most of Europe. After Ralph died, she traveled with family and friends to Russia, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, and Europe. Her photos from all those trips inspired many paintings.
A lifelong Democrat, she avidly followed politics and was a strong supporter of Obama.
She was predeceased by an infant, Daniel Allen, in 1947. Ralph passed away in 1987. She is survived by her daughter, Kathy (Mike) Mouat of Santa Rosa; son Steve (Lynn) Fitch of Santa Fe; two grandsons, Daniel Luke Fitch of Santa Fe and Travis Allen of Brooklyn, NY. A cousin, Jeannine McMechen of Belvedere and many nieces and nephews also mourn her loss.
She was always very loving and generous to her family, who knew her fondly by the nicknames Big Girl and Mama Bird. She took the whole family to Maui one Christmas vacation. The most recent trip was when she took the family to Yosemite.
The family wants to thank her caregivers, especially Arselia Delgado, whose care allowed her to remain in her home.
Virginia was a true Renaissance woman who kept a beautiful home and loved to entertain. She is truly missed. There will be a memorial for her this summer.
Donations in her name may be made to: Plowshares, 1346 S. State St. Ukiah, CA 95482 or to the Grace Hudson Museum, 431 Main St. Ukiah, CA 95482