Fritz was born in Grand Junction, CO, on July 8, 1949 and passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 28, 2018, at his home in Yachats. He grew up in Durango, CO, where he graduated from Durango High School in 1967 and promptly enlisted in the Navy. He served four years active duty, with one tour in Vietnam on the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, followed by two years in the reserves. He then returned to Durango and completed his BA at Fort Lewis College. In 1984 he began his career in law enforcement with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office west of Denver, CO; then traveled southwest to Gila County in Arizona (Payson); retiring from Lincoln County in Newport in 2010. He received many commendations while in law enforcement, but was proudest of the commendation he received from the U.S. Secret Service for his work as a lieutenant during the Denver Summit of the Eight in 1997. He also received the Victor G. Atiyeh Award here in Oregon. Upon retirement, he said he traded his guns for fly rods!
Fritz then spent his years volunteering for several organizations including Central Coast Fly Fishers, Oregon Coast Woodturners and proudly rode his Harley-Davidson with the Legion Riders. He also watched whales with Whale Watching Spoken Here and served as "foster dad" to over 200 kittens.
Fritz was the great-grandson of David F. Day, the youngest recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service during the Civil War. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Kathe Stander; brother Chuck of Durango, CO; sister Kathy (Day) Ihlbrock of Aguanga, CA; daughter Sarah (Day) Olson of Ohio; and three sisters-in-law, three brothers-in-law and nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held in 2019. Per his request, Fritz will be cremated and taken out to sea to rest with his beloved whales in the ocean he loved. Donations in his memory can be made to a charity of your choosing. "A gentle giant, larger than life."