Beloved Spouse, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather departed this life on November 22, 2022, at the age of 92 at his home in Heber City, UT. He was born in Moorefield, West Virginia on March 17, 1930, to Oscar Fitzwater and Ethel Mae Clayton. He was predeceased by his Sisters Mary Elizabeth, Mrs. William Mc Coy (Susie), Mrs. Lee Ellinger (Dorothy), Mrs. B. J. Cain (Pauline), Mrs. William Uphole (Edna), and by his Brothers, Charles Everett and Harry Leonard.
He is survived by his wife, Christine B. Fitzwater of Heber City UT, brother Harold Wayne Fitzwater of Moorefield WVA, sons, Michael Paul Fitzwater and wife Linda of Saugus CA, Stephen Fitzwater and wife Charla of West Jordan, UT, Step-daughters Deborah Lynn Kim Caro and spouse, Caro of Heber City UT and Cynthia Ann Kim Haddad and spouse Mufeed of Yorba Linda, CA.
Grandchildren, Richard William Fitzwater and spouse Sadie of Chehalis WA, Mary Hubert and daughter Charlotte of Arcata CA, Danielle Fitzwater of Mesa AZ, Adam Gage Fitzwater and daughter Avrielle of Draper UT, Corinna Fitzwater of Salt Lake City UT, Natalia Caro of Park City UT and Gabriella Caro Kavalauskas and spouse Julian and Marcello Caro of Heber UT, Jordan Haddad, Alexa Haddad, and Keaton Haddad of Yorba Linda CA
John and his siblings worked on the family subsistence farm from an early age. He learned to shoot a rifle when he was 5 years old. The kids walked over a mile to school in a two-room schoolhouse. He was a good student at Moorefield High School where he excelled in Baseball as a pitcher. The Brooklyn Dodgers scouted him to be on their team but he chose the Coast Guard instead and joined in 1950. He was stationed on Long Island at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. He served as a mechanic and flight engineer in Air Sea Rescue until 1953. This was his introduction to the aircraft industry.
After his service, he moved to California to attend engineering school at Northrup School of Engineering on the GI Bill. He was hired by Douglas aircraft to work on weapons systems development in Cape Canaveral FL. They were working on the Thor missile at that time. He also worked on the Atlas and Discover missile engines. He worked with Albert Zeller from the Peenemunde group and other notable scientists and engineers. During his 2.5 years in Florida, he participated in about 20 launches. He was still in his 20s.
He supervised the construction of three SAC Atlas Missile Bases at Dyess AFB near Abilene TX, Walker AFB in Roswell NM, and Altus AFB in Altus OK.
He was hired by Rocketdyne from 1963 to 1969 to be civilian Base Manager for the Missile Defense system at Vandenburg Airforce Base in Santa Maria California. He had hundreds of military and political visitors over the years demonstrating the missiles and manning them during the Cuban missile crises because the military did not know how to fire them yet.
After aerospace, he studied real estate at UCLA He also became a real estate broker and owned several offices. It was in 1977 that he and Chris met. They got married on August 22, 1980, at Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe, NV.
John was a man that saw opportunity everywhere. In the late 80s, they sold some properties and invested in other states plus moved to Draper, UT, and had a huge veggie garden. They moved to Coalville where they designed and built their dream home and then to Heber City, UT to be closer to family. He loved being with the kids and grandkids, hunting, fishing, and camping as well as playing the stock market.
It was John’s desire to have his ashes spread by a lake where he shot a 6x6 Elk in Coalville. A celebration of life will be held in his honor at a later date.