Charles Thomas Fitts, Sr., known as "Papa Peach" to his beloved family, died Tuesday, February 5, 2013. A resident of Columbia since 1957, he was 97 years old. The son of the late Eva Griffeth and Thomas Jefferson Fitts, Mr. Fitts was born May 6, 1915, in Tate, Georgia. He graduated from Tate High School and North Georgia Military College and continued studies at the University of Georgia.
Moving to Norcross, Georgia, he taught math and later served as principal and director of athletics. He coached the Norcross High School baseball team to a league championship in 1938.
In 1938, Mr. Fitts began a distinguished 38-year career with Texaco, Inc., in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. In Columbia, he served as District Manager for the state of South Carolina and as a leader in the Oil Jobbers Association.
During World War II, his teaching skills were once again called upon while serving in the army teaching basic skills to new recruits.
On June 29, 1938, he married Mary Garner of Norcross, to whom he was devoted for 67 years until her death in 2005. Together they reared their two children, emphasizing the importance of a loving family, sense of responsibility, perseverance, education, and a strong belief in Christian values. Always supportive, they showered their affections on their five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Nicknamed Papa and Mama Peach, they stood ready and watched over them at every opportunity. When asked what he considered to be most important in his life, Mr. Fitts proudly noted the birth of his loving children, his happy marriage, and his successful extended family.
A faithful member of Shandon United Methodist Church since 1958, Mr. Fitts was a long time member of the Christian Homes Sunday School Class and subsequently the Wesley Fellowship. He was a charter member of the Golden Kiwanis Club, joining in 1978, and was the last surviving charter member. Throughout his life, Mr. Fitts took special care to maintain friendships, always keeping in touch with old friends and frequently visiting those who were fortunate to call him friend. He and his wife were particularly attentive to friends who had been widowed, including them in social events with Mr. Fitts often serving as chauffeur. After the death of his wife, he moved to the Wildewood Downs Retirement Community where, despite gradually declining health, he was well-known and admired.
He is survived by his son, Charles Thomas (Tom) Fitts, Jr. and his wife, Sandra Hudson Fitts, of Lugoff; daughter, Sandra Fitts Johnson and her husband, Dr. William A. (Bill) Johnson, of Columbia; grandchildren, Dr. Charles Thomas (Trey) Fitts III, Meredith Fitts Loudenback and her husband, Scott, Dr. Garner Johnson Wild, Dr. William A. Johnson, Jr. and his wife, Katherine Harding, and Dr. Brandon Fitts Johnson and his wife, Shannon Pinel; great-grandchildren, Mark David Wild, Blakely Johnson Wild, William A. Johnson III, Elizabeth Harding Johnson, Mary Wyatt Johnson, Margaret Harper Johnson, Finley Jane Johnson and Matthew Fitts Loudenback; a sister, Catherine Fitts Bryant of Dothan, Ala., and many loving Garner, Fitts, and Bryant extended family members.
The memorial service for Mr. Fitts will be held at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, 2013, with visitation with family to follow immediately afterwards. The Reverend Mike Guffee of Shandon United Methodist Church will conduct the service.
Friends who wish to remember Mr. Fitts may do so with memorials to Shandon United Methodist Church, 3407 Devine Street, Columbia SC 29205 or to the charity of their choice.
The family is grateful to Dr. Frank Martin, Dr. Jeff Hopkins, The Haven, and the National Health Care at Parklane for their special attention and loving care.
Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family with services.
Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.