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Shirley (Joseph) Fitch

Shirley (Joseph) Fitch, 84, a  longtime and proud Essex native, died Wednesday, March 2, 2011 in her daughter’s  Ipswich home following a long illness. She was the wife of the late Don Arthur Fitch.

Born in Essex August 21, 1926, daughter of the late Arthur and Mildred W. (Day) Joseph, she was raised in Essex and was a member of the first graduating class from Essex to graduate from Gloucester. As a young woman  she worked as a bookkeeper at the former Bill Swett’s Grocery in Essex, during the war she was employed at Hy-Grade Company in Ipswich, and for several  years  she waitressed at Ship Ahoy and Farnham's in Essex. Saturday after work at the Ship Ahoy she’d walk home to the Falls, returning downtown to the Grange for the last two sets of dances. Married in 1948, the Fitchs made their home and raised their family on Western Avenue.

 She enjoyed bowling, dancing and knitting for her family and friends. Mrs. Fitch  was a lifetime member of the Essex Grange and  a member of the Pythian Sisters.  

She is survived by a son, Dayton Fitch and his wife Cynthia of Vale, AZ; four daughters, Tina Heath of New Bedford, Penny Gaffney and her husband James of the Berkshires, Jill Robinson and her husband William of Ipswich and  Julie Tucker of Ipswich; eight grandchildren, Dawn Savageau, Jason Landry, Tessa Landry, Noel Mitchell, Daphne Gunter, Dillon Robinson, Audrey Tucker and Abigail Tucker; six great grandchildren and a brother, Thomas Joseph of Essex.

Her funeral service will be held Thursday March 10, 11 am graveside in the Spring Street Cemetery, Essex. Family and friends are respectfully welcomed. Visiting hours are Wednesday 4 to 8 pm in the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home, 6 High Street, Ipswich. Memorial contributions in her name may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

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