Clarissa Wells Fetcher, 1915-2005


Clarissa "Criss" Fetcher died Sept. 7, 2005, at Doak Walker Care Center. She was 90.

Criss was born March 31, 1915, in Plainfield, N.J., the youngest of four children of Henry and Alice Wells. She was educated there and later attended Smith College, earning a degree in Italian literature. A secretarial career in New York City followed, which included positions with the Friends Service Committee and the War Department during the early years of World War II. Her Quaker upbringing was evident every day of her life. She was a very graceful and accepting companion and friend.

On June 19, 1943, she married John Fetcher, who worked as plant engineer for the Budd Co. near Philadelphia. They settled in Penn Valley, Penn., where sons Ned, Bill and Jay were born.

In 1949, Criss and John would undertake a major change in their lives and those of their children by moving to Colorado and starting a cattle ranch near Clark, 18 miles north of Steamboat Springs. Their daughter, Amie, was born the following year.

When not involved in her children's activities, Criss was always a willing ranch hand, moving cattle, haying, irrigating and feeding the many hungry mouths, of people and cattle. She enjoyed the independence that work offered. On top of all this, Criss found time to be of service to the community. She taught music at the Clark School and later served on boards for the American Red Cross, Routt Memorial Hospital, Strings in the Mountains and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra. Blessed with a fine voice, she enjoyed singing in the Methodist Church choir and with the Columbine Singers. In 1994, she was awarded the Hazie Werner Award For Excellence for her contributions to the community.

In addition to reading and music, Criss enjoyed outdoor activities, including skiing, golf, swimming, hiking, bird watching, fishing and sailing with her family. She looked forward to the family packing trips into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area after the hay was up. She traveled frequently, whether to the East Coast to visit family or on extended trips to Europe, and she would bring home great photos of her adventures.

Criss was preceded in death by two brothers, Bartlett and Richard Wells. She leaves a brother, John Wells of Newtown, Penn.; her husband, John Fetcher; a sister-in-law, Gertrude Fetcher of Steamboat Springs; sons Ned Fetcher and his wife, Janice, of Dalton, Penn., Bill Fetcher of Steamboat and Jay Fetcher and his wife, Gael, of Clark; a daughter, Amie Butler and her husband, Art, of Helena, Mont.; six grandchildren; and many, many friends.

A memorial service is at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Criss' name can be made to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra.


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