Skip to main content

Memorial for Thomas Fitch

Friends and colleagues are planning a memorial remembrance and celebration of life in honor of College of Education Professor Emeritus Thomas Fitch, who passed away on August 3, 2011. The remembrance will take place 4 p.m. on September 15 at Calvary United Methodist Church, 1700 N. Towanda Avenue in Normal.

Tom spent many years teaching science education courses, working with in-service teachers of science, and serving in a variety of leadership roles for the improvement of science teaching and learning. The service will be a time to come together and share memories of working with Tom, of how Tom may have influenced your career, and how he influenced science education in Illinois and beyond.

If you have been touched by Tom’s influence, please come and join us and share your memories. If you cannot attend, please forward a few words describing your remembrance of Tom. As part of the celebration, we plan to read selections of remembrances sent to us by those unable to attend and then pass those words on to Tom’s family.

For planning purpose, please respond by September 7 if you plan to attend. Send an email to Marilyn Morey at mkmorey@IllinoisState.edu. Remembrances may be sent to the same address.

Comments

It was my distinct pleasure to work with Tom in processing his NSF and other proposals for funding through the University Research Office, or any of its predecessors for some twenty years.

He was quite particular about the mechanics of proposal preparation, determined to follow funding agency guidelines in minute detail, and tailoring his suggested practices and procedure with precise, and at times colorful, terminology. A favorite phrase was to "... orchrastrate curricular practices" ... He genuinely enjoyed working with experienced classroom teachers, and strove to elicit from students in preparation for teaching, the highest capacity for excellence they possessed.

I took a science class from Dr. Fitch around 1970, I believe. The thing I remember the most was his sense of humor and that I never wanted to skip class because I thought I might miss some of that humor. He was a great teacher. One of a kind in that era. I'm sad that he died.

Over twenty years ago, Tom and two other professors, Dr. Franzie Loepp, and Dr John Dossey, formed the Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology (CeMaST). I was lucky enough to be chosen to be the support staff for the Center. I remember well the excitement Tom exuded as the Center came to fruition. He was a strong influence in the proposal written to the National Science Foundation, and an integral part in the project, IMaST, after it was funded. I enjoyed working with Tom, and was very sorry to hear of his passing.

in reply to Kathy Hatch

I was part of the design team for the IMAST project and had had him for a science class off campus. I still have the comments he wrote on my project for that class that I shared with him during the work we did together for the NSF project. He always helped me focus of the task at hand. He will be missed.

How can I say how Tom Fitch influenced my teaching and learning? He had a way about him that helped me focus on the task, How the task was written, how the task was evaluated, How the task fit into the broader scheme of the overall concept. He also taught me to reflect on what happened during the teaching and learning. I aways learned so much from his direction. His sense of humor, his sparkling eyes, his soft spoken voice, all contributed to the man I remember in front of the class or in the background walking around making comments. He will be missed!

Dr. Fitch was my CORE science professor in the fall of '75. We did really inovative programs like ESS and SCIS so we could teach kids how awesome science was. I used the Mystery Powders with my third graders and they loved it. I didn't like science when I was a kid so learning how to make it fun was great for me. Dr. Fitch was so inspiring and fun have as a teacher. He made everyday an adventure. On graduation day in May of '76 he found me, hugged me, congratulated me and told me I was going to be a wonderful teacher. I cannot say enough about what great role model he was to all of us. I loved his sense of humor and am sad to hear that he has passed on to the great science lab in the sky.