Obituary: Helen Spencer Fritch, Sept. 27, 1931 – June 3, 2019
Helen Spencer Fritch, 87, passed away peacefully on June 3, 2019, surrounded by her family. She was born on September 27, 1931, in Seattle, Washington, to Helen and Matthew Lyle Spencer. Helen graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College in 1953 and earned a master’s degree in education from Syracuse University. Her career as an educational editor developing learning materials for Science Research Associates brought her to Chicago where she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Fritch. They were married for 59 years.
She and Bob brought their family to Vail in 1974 and were owners of the Sitzmark Lodge in Vail for 45 years. They enjoyed traveling the world, visiting all seven continents and spending time at their second home on Kauai.
Helen will always be remembered by her friends and family for her kind, compassionate and gracious spirit. She encouraged and inspired everyone who knew her. Her motto was: “If you don’t like the way things are going, get involved and help make a change.” That motto not only made her an amazing mom but led her to a commitment to service and leadership, including Girl Scout Leader, serving on the Mount Holyoke Board of Trustees, and immersing herself in the Vail Valley.
Helen served on the board for Eagle County Schools from 1977-1985, including as president for four years and was an active community member throughout her life. In 1985 Helen co-founded the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and contributed to the organization as its president for 15 years.
Helen’s various awards and accomplishments include Mount Holyoke Alumnae Medal of Honor, Denver Botanic Gardens Distinguished Achievement in Horticulture Award, Vail Valley Citizen of the Year, and Spirit of Betty Ford Award.
Helen is preceded in death by her husband, Bob, and will be greatly missed by her daughters Nancy, Leslie Chapman (Mike) and Jeanne (Ella Lyons); grandchildren Christopher Chapman (Eliana), Kelly Chapman (Curt Fulster) and Ryan Chapman.
Memorial contributions may be made to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens at https://bettyfordalpinegardens.org/donate-to-our-education-center/
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.