It is with a sad heart to announce David Ray Fitch passed away at Life Care Center in Idaho Falls on August 21, 2021.
David Ray, friends called him ‘Ray’ or ‘Fitch’, was born on February 9, 1949 in Shelley, Idaho to Donald Ray and Inez Fitch from Shelley, Idaho. He grew up in Shelley, ID on a farm in Jameston with his brother Dale Mangum, Sister Shirley Freidenburger and Sister Connie Longmore. He graduated from Shelley High school in 1967. He married Linda Fitch in 1968. He enlisted in the Army in 1968 and proudly served his country until 1970 and was in the reserve until 1974. During that time he and Linda had two beautiful boys, Michael Ray Fitch and Mathew Francis Fitch. Ray loved those boys with everything he had and although things did not turn out the way he had planned, those boys lived in his heart until the day he passed. He and Linda divorced in 1979. Later he married Marsha Bradley Fitch in 1980 and spent 6 unforgettable years together with her.
Ray suffered profoundly with mental illness for many years. He was diagnosed fifteen years ago with schizophrenia. Those of us close to him believe he suffered long before the official diagnosis. It was heartbreaking as a family to watch him suffer for so long. He touched so many lives with his gentle heart. Some would say he was ‘misunderstood’, but according to his niece, Angela White, he was her hero and was the man who stood by her and never broke her heart.
Ray attended classes at ISU and became certified in mechanics. He could rebuild a car from the ground up, paint and all. He was a true cowboy and anyone who knew him could attest to that. He was a talented saddler, tanner and woodworker. The saddles, bridles and furniture he made were exquisite and irreplaceable. As a cowboy, Ray loved riding horses. Riding a horse he found a freedom and peace that could not be found anywhere else.
After he was diagnosed, Connie cared for him and together they made many memories that they both cherished. Connie was fiercely protective of Ray and those who are left behind find comfort that he is now free from the demons he fought and know he is in the loving arms of his sister, father, mother and niece, Suzette.
He is survived by, his sons Michael Ray Fitch (grandchildren, Sutton and Kennedy), Mathew Francis Fitch (grandson Boston); sister Shirley Freidenburger (nephews, Terrell, Kim, and Brad Hoskins); niece Angela White (grand-nephews, Josh and Jordan Wheeler and Kemp Williams). He is preceded in death by parents Donald Ray and Inez Fitch, brother Dale Mangum, niece, Suzette White, and loving sister, Connie Longmore.
Graveside services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday August 25, 2021 at the Shelley Hillcrest Cemetery,
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalder Funeral Home in Shelley.
If you or a loved one are suffering from mental illness please contact: www.nami.org for more information and help.