Home News Local news Man Behind the Kids and the Sea Program Dies

Man Behind the Kids and the Sea Program Dies


Dec. 27, 2004 –– Coral Bay resident Fletcher Pitts, 51, died Christmas Day at Roy L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas after a long illness.
Pitts and Robin Clair, his wife, founded the St. John Kids and the Sea program in 1988.
"It is one of the most successful after-school programs anywhere," St. John resident and fellow sailor Peter Muilenburg said Monday.
Jill Kemp, who served as a KATS instructor for several years, said Pitts and Clair were the threads that held the program together.
"Fletcher was one of those people who don't ask for a whole lot, but people respond," she said, speaking of the KATS program success.
Pitts' contributions to the KATS program were numerous, but he will also be remembered as the skipper of Liberty, an Alden 52. The boat sailed to victory with Pitts at the helm in many Caribbean regattas.
"We won the 1996 Antigua Classic," Clair said as she talked about her husband's accomplishments.
He also won the Golden Topsail Award for traditional class boats many times at the Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regatta. Liberty again captured the award at this year.
Liberty crew member Rick "The Plumber" Vanasse talked about that day. He said Pitts was at the helm the entire time, steering the boat to the finish an easy hour ahead of the other boats in its class.
"We did everything perfect. It was a real good day for him," Vanasse recalled.
Pitts was as generous with his praise for his crew as he was with his time.
"It was good crew and team work all the way," Pitts told this reporter after winning the traditional class at the 2003 Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regatta.
Pitts and Clair sailed from their home in Virginia via Bermuda to St. John, arriving Christmas Day, 1987.
He was born in Monterey, Calif., but spent his youth in Virginia Beach, Va.
As word of Pitts' death spread around St. John, several people talked about his contributions.
"Fletcher had a huge heart. He was always there for the kids. We're going to miss him a lot," Rafe Boulon said.
Boulon's two children, Devon and Revel, participated for many years in the KATS program.
Mickey Raimondi talked about Pitts' boat building abilities.
"And he'd help anybody anytime they needed a hand," he said.
Muilenburg called him charismatic, and noted that Pitts was honored for his efforts with a Paul Harris medal given by Rotary International.
"We won't see his like again," he said.
In addition to his wife, Pitts is survived by his father, Charles Pitts Sr., and his brother, Charles Pitts Jr.
Pitts will be remembered Saturday at memorial service at 11 a.m. at Johnson Bay.
Clair said his ashes will scattered off Liberty sometime in January.


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