John Fletcher, 94, of Manchester, CT, son of the late John and Ella (Schmidt) Fletcher, both of Manchester, CT, died peacefully on December 14th following a period of illness. “Jack” was pre-deceased by his beloved wife Mary (Fryer) Fletcher, and his son Eric Fryer Fletcher. He is survived by his three children, Dr. John Douglas Fletcher and his wife Dr. April Berry-Fletcher of Newton, MA, David Arthur Fletcher and his wife Mary Stephanie Wickouski, of New York, New York, and Sandra Lynn Varney, of South Windsor, CT, three grandchildren, Dr. Katheryn (Fletcher) Zietzsche, her husband Dr. Georg Zietzsche, Julie Elizabeth Fletcher, and John David Fletcher, and one great-granddaughter, Elena Zietzsche. Jack is a distinguished veteran of World War II where he bravely served with the U.S. Army's 10th Armored Division, one of the units that fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He earned the Bronze Star Medal for heroism under fire. Following military service, Jack attended college under the GI bill at the University of Connecticut earning a BA in French and Industrial Relations. It was then he met and married his wife of 63 years, Mary Fryer, working at the time as the principal of the Storrs Grammar School. As he was working days to support his young family, he attended night school at the University of Connecticut law school in Hartford. He graduated with a Juris Doctorate and was admitted to the Connecticut Bar. He started his working career at Aetna as a corporate counsel. He later accepted a position at the Hartford Insurance Group as Associate General Counsel. He worked at the Hartford until retirement. He was a founding member of the Community Baptist Church in Manchester, CT. He and his wife Mary were active in local politics. They both served on the Republican Town Committee. He was elected to the Board of Education. She served as a Justice of the Peace for many years. Although Jack ‘retired’ he remained an active tennis player well into his 80s. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for State Technical Colleges, served on the Connecticut State Board of Higher Education, served in a volunteer capacity at Manchester Superior Court providing information and assistance to individuals with business before the court, and continued to provide legal services and estate planning in town.When Jack was not engaged in community service, he and Mary enjoyed traveling to destinations both foreign and domestic. With a natural gift for and curiosity about languages, Jack enjoyed visiting France and Germany where he was able to practice his excellent language skills. He and Mary also cruised the seas to Alaska, explored the Baltics, but were always happy to return to their home in Manchester. Jack was interviewed by the Hartford Courant about his military service just a few years ago. His stories were included in a few books about the Battle of the Bulge. His recollections from that article: "Fletcher, 89, of Manchester, was with the U.S. Army's 10th Armored Division, one of the units that fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He says his memories of the war are "like it happened yesterday," yet he never talked about them, even with his wife and four children. He's matter-of-fact about it: "I didn't feel anybody was interested. … Guys got killed; it didn't make me go crazy." After retiring from a career as a lawyer for insurance companies, Fletcher took a writing class last year at the local senior center. He dropped the class after completing several essays about his war experience. "I couldn't think of anything else to write about.” Calling hours will be held at Holmes-Watkins Funeral Home, 400 Main St. in Manchester on Friday, December 21, 2018 from 9:30 am - 11:00 am with a service to begin at 11:00 am at the funeral home. Burial with Military Honors will follow in the New Willimantic Cemetery, Route 32, Willimantic, CT. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the Donor’s Choice. To leave an online condolence please visit www.holmeswatkins.com
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