Lee Everett Fichtner

 

December 7, 2017

Our husband, dad, grandpa, brother and friend, Lee Fichtner, passed away on November 27, 2017. Lee's life began in Olean, N.Y. on November 14, 1938, the middle child of Mildred and Walter Fichtner. His school years were spent living in tiny Limestone, N.Y. (pop. 389). With his sticking-out ears and round spectacles he established himself as the chief mischief maker of the village. Along with his partner in crime and lifelong buddy Sid Torrence, they have so many hilarious stories to tell. One of our favorites is the time they "borrowed" a boat from the Alleghany River, repainted it and intended to take off across the country on a Huck Finn journey, that is until the police showed up mid-paint job. Lee was a sports star, playing football, baseball and excelled at track and field. He set track records that still hold today in Limestone.

Seeking adventure outside Limestone, Lee enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1958. He served on several ships through his 10-year career, the last being the USS Epperson and achieved his goal of seeing the world, visiting several foreign countries. He served one tour in the Vietnam Conflict. Throughout his life Lee was proud of his U.S. Navy service, showing his pride with patriotic hats and flags on his truck.

While Lee was in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii, the handsome young sailor with the piercing blue eyes met Mickie Schmierer, the cute college co-ed from Odessa during a blind date at the drag races. Mickie said, "He was so much fun" and "a good kisser." Well, it must have done the trick, because in September 1966 they were married and stayed married for 51 years. One year later in April, while stationed in San Diego, Calif. the chubby baby Bret Lee was born.

After the Navy, Lee used the skills they taught him and his natural genius for all things electronic to start a long career in electronics maintenance and repair. For several years he owned an electronic repair business. Mickie worked the shortwave dispatch radio out of their kitchen, Lee drove his panel van to jobs and the workshop was in the basement. It was also during this time in July 1971 that Lee and Mickie welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Tara Alys. He also worked at KEZE/KJRB radio as chief engineer and retired from Airway Heights Correctional Facility as an Electronic Supervisor.

Lee was an incredible dad. He coached, spectated and cheered at countless Little League games, track meets, band/choir concerts and other assorted events for Bret and Tara. He packed their lunches every morning during school years, using his creative sandwich making skills to make lunchtime interesting (ever had a bologna, peanut butter and mustard sandwich?). His enthusiasm for his kids continued as a grandpa, doing the same enthusiastic cheering for his grandkids Ilayna and Kade Lavinder at their events.

He also loved to spend time having fun with his lifelong friends. We have so many memories and pictures from costume parties, camping trips and cross-country RV vacations.

Lee will be missed terribly by his wife Mickie, kids Bret and Tara, Tara's husband Craig Lavinder and their children Kade and Ilayna, mother-in-law Alice Schmierer, his sister Shirley and brother David.

Funeral services will be held at Christ Lutheran Church in Odessa Friday, December 8, at 11 a.m. with Pastor Dirk Jensen officiating. Memorials may be made to Christ Lutheran Church in Odessa. Please sign the online guestbook at http://www.stratefuneralhome.com. Strate Funeral Home, Davenport, is caring for the family.

 

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