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Published: 10/20/2013 - Updated: 6 months ago

Marion F. Fitch; 1931-2013: Detective, ex-chief helped start, lead Crime Stoppers

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Fitch. Fitch.
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Marion F. Fitch, a longtime police detective and a former police chief who in his second career taught would-be law enforcement officers, died Thursday in his South Toledo home. He was 82.

He had cardiovascular problems since the late ’90s, his daughter Judi said. For years before that, he and his wife, Judy Kimple-Fitch, were world travelers.

Mr. Fitch was a Toledo police detective in April, 1984, when he retired, by order of the city law director, so that he could seek the Republican nomination for Lucas County sheriff. Because he was in charge of the Crime Stopper program, Mr. Fitch remained on the job as a volunteer, sans badge and gun, until a replacement could be found. In November, 1984, Mr. Fitch and James Telb, a Democrat, were candidates to outgoing Sheriff Donald Hickey. Mr. Telb was elected then and subsequently until his retirement at the end of 2012.

Mr. Fitch had run, unsuccessfully, for Toledo City Council in 1980.

“My dad had a really strong sense of duty, and he wanted to help people,” his daughter said. “That’s why he ran for city council and sheriff. He was really a community-minded person.”

“He could have run for mayor of the city,” said Victor Gonzalez, a longtime friend and former agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Toledo office. “He knew everybody, and his opinion meant a lot.”

Mr. Fitch was police chief of Walbridge from 1987 to 1993.

Education was the thread connecting his careers. He had multiple graduate degrees from the University of Toledo, including a master’s degree in public administration and an education specialist’s degree. He also attended law school.

“I’ve spent all my life preparing for the future,” he told The Blade in 1980.

He taught criminal justice courses at Owens Community College, Defiance College, UT, and Bowling Green State University. He also taught at the Toledo Police Academy and the Criminal Justice Training and Education Center, where he had administrative duties.

“He could communicate,” said Mr. Gonzalez, who also taught at Defiance College. “He had patience, and of course, he was a very honorable person who garnered and had a lot of respect.”

Mr. Fitch became a Toledo officer in 1956. He was assigned to the detective bureau’s burglary and auto squads in the late 1960s. He later was assigned as police department’s liaison to Toledo Municipal Court, the county prosecutor, and the county grand jury. When presidential or vice presidential candidates came to the area, Mr. Fitch was assigned to line up Toledo police officers to would work with the Secret Service.

In 1983, Mr. Fitch and Capt. Robert Marti were honored for their roles in founding Toledo’s Crime Stopper program.

He was born Aug. 10, 1931, in Grand Rapids to Charlotte and Marion L. Fitch. He left Grand Rapids High School early to enlist in the military and served in the Marine Corps Reserve and in the Navy. He later received his high school equivalency diploma.

He was formerly married to Joyce Fitch.

Surviving are his wife, Judith Kimple-Fitch, whom he married Feb. 4, 1979; daughters, Judith Gould and Victoria Holmes; stepson, Steve Brigham; stepdaughter, Amy Krontz; six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday in the Walter Funeral Home. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Andrew United Methodist Church, where he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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