James Erving Fletcher, 87, passed away on April 29, 2023 at home in Rochester, Minnesota, surrounded by his family with his wife Barbara at his side.
James (Jim) was born on November 21, 1935 in Logan, Utah to Joel and Florence Fletcher. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona with his parents and brother Richard (Dick) Fletcher. He graduated from the University of Arizona before spending a decade in the U. S. Army. He met his beloved wife Barbara while serving as an Aide-de-camp in the Eighth US Army, and married her on August 31, 1963 in Fort Sam Houston. They lived together in Fort Benning, Georgia and Bangkok, Thailand, where they had their first two children, J. G. and Ann, before he returned to the University of Utah, where he received his PhD in Telecommunications. The majority of his career was spent at the University of Georgia in Athens, where his daughter Susette was born. He became a well-known professor and authored several books and numerous papers, edited journals, established the Peabody Collection archiving the Peabody Awards in Broadcasting, and won lifetime achievement awards from national organizations.
To those that knew him best, however, Jim’s spiritual and emotional center was a belief in Jesus Christ with an unwavering commitment to God, his family, and serving others. His daily interactions and decisions reflected these values. He served in numerous positions of service within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including as Bishop and Branch President in numerous congregations in Kentucky and Georgia, reaching out to church and community members across economic strata and races. He was a quiet and steadfast supporter of his wife and children, and enjoyed entertaining and talking to small children (especially his grandchildren). Even when Alzheimer’s disease took his memory, he was still able to introduce his lovely wife Barbara.
Jim was also a lifelong mentor and teacher. While he could be shy and soft-spoken, he was a charismatic teacher who came alive when in front of a class. His extended family included students, graduate students, and colleagues with whom he communicated throughout his life. He recognized and appreciated the strengths in those mentored, and encouraged students across a wide array of backgrounds.
He also had a love of classical music, especially opera, but also including musicals and spirituals. He had a booming bel canto tenor voice, and enjoyed singing in choirs (especially Susette’s), and continued to sing into his eighties as a member of the Shorewood Singers.
He is survived by his beloved wife Barbara; his children J. G. (and his wife, Emily), Ann (and her husband, John), and Susette (and her husband, Kris); ten grandchildren (Lauren, Alyse, Mark, Scott, Ella, Clara, Eliza, Calvin, James, Jean Luc); and three great-grandchildren (Macey, Saylor, Titus).
A funeral service and celebration of his life will be held on Saturday May 20th, 11:00 AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1002 16th Street SE, Rochester, Minnesota near Mayo High School. Visitation will be one hour preceding the service at the church. He will be buried at the Pine Island Cemetery.
Online condolences can be sent to mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in memory of James Fletcher (https://alzfdn.org/support-us/donate/).
For those persons who are unable to attend the service in Rochester you may watch the memorial service via livestream at the link below. We will begin the livestream broadcast at appoximately 10:50 AM on the day of the service.
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