Richard Sills Fletcher, a long-time resident of Livermore, California, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at his home, on May 5, 2020, from valley fever.
Rich was born to Nelson and Betty Fletcher on Nov. 21, 1949, in Livermore. He attended school in Livermore, playing football, baseball, and the trumpet. He graduated Livermore High School in 1967.
After high school, Rich attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, followed by Nuclear Power School. He served five years aboard Navy submarines and submarine support ships.
During his years in the Navy and later, Rich enjoyed fishing along the East coast and the Gulf of Mexico. When California beckoned, he hooked his whaler behind his truck, and towed it to the West Coast. Once in California, he began a career in real estate, while continuing to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors.
In 1991, Rich met the love of his life, Linda. They married in 1993 and spent the next 28 years hosting family and friends for gatherings that featured Rich’s smoked or grilled duck, deer, boar or fish recipes. They journeyed around the world, enjoying a safari in South Africa, a walk-about in New Zealand, and fishing in Kauai, Hawaii and Alaska.
Rich and Linda’s long-time dream of owning a home on Lake Almanor in northeastern California finally came true in 2018. In addition to hunting, fishing and hiking, Rich loved teaching his grandchildren about nature.
He played a pivotal role in fundraising and leadership for the Mule Deer Foundation, dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and wild lands. He was one of the first board members when the organization was founded in 1988, and served several terms as chairman. He was also instrumental in starting and supporting several chapters in California and other states. Most recently, he was involved with the Mule Deer Foundation National Endowment Fund.
As a member of the KDC Duck Club, Rich spent hours hunting with his dogs, Val and Lola. His work to conserve the club’s lands has helped to protect a variety of endangered species and native habitat. He leaves a legacy of wildlands preservation that will go on for many years to come. He was also an author, writing several books about hunting, along with a blog that spanned 10 years. His blog can still be read at www.hunterlandowner.wordpress.com.
Rich is remembered as a positive, genuine person, who had a smile for everyone he met, even when he was at his sickest. He had a talent for putting people at ease, and loved to tell a good story. He was especially fond of tales laying bare the secrets of those involved that were a tiny bit inappropriate. He had a big heart, and was known to sob his way through a movie. Rich particularly loved music, filling every silence with humming or whistling, and sometimes adding a little jig. Most of all, Rich was a content, joyful person. He made it a priority to do what he thought was right; he chose people, places, and activities that made him happy, and he believed that life is lived in the moment. He is already sorely missed by the many who love him.
Rich leaves behind his wife, Linda Fletcher; his father, Nelson Fletcher; brother and sister-in-law, Rob and Tish Fletcher; and his beloved dog Lola. He is also survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Betsy and Brett Kelly; step-daughter and son-in-law, Shannon and Tim Rice; stepson and daughter-in-law, Aaron and Allison Riche; and four grandchildren, Summer and Brooklyn Riche and Fergus and Rose Kelly.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his Rich’s name to the Environmental Sciences Support Fund at the University of California, Berkeley, for valley fever research, or to the Mule Deer Foundation Endowment Fund. A Celebration of Life is planned for later this year.