Obituary: Michael T N. Fitch
July 7, 1945 – July 22, 2022
Michael T Newman Fitch – husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, telecommunications expert – succumbed to cancer on July 22, 2022. He was 77 and resided in Redondo Beach, CA.
Mike was born July 7, 1945 in Little Rock, AR to Jerry and Marcie Fitch. The Fitch family moved to Glenwood Springs, CO in 1951 where they operated KGLN radio station and later KDGO radio station in Durango, CO. His experience working at KGLN gave him his deep interest in radio and telecommunications and his skill on the microphone that fueled his professional life.
After graduating from Glenwood Springs High School in 1963, Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1967 and a Juris Doctor law degree from Columbia University in 1970.
From 1970-1990, Mike rose from an entry-level attorney to Bureau Chief and Senior Legal Advisor to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, DC. He worked on a wide range of telecommunications issues and spent one year as a Presidential Exchange Executive at the Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, PA. From 1990-1996, he was an Office Director and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Communications & Information Policy. He was responsible for international negotiations in the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva and international satellite issues involving Intelsat and Inmarsat, traveling widely to represent U.S. interests at multinational sessions.
In 1996, Mike became Vice-President of Regulatory Issues and Spectrum Management at Hughes Communications in Los Angeles, CA with responsibility for US and international satellite issues. He continued that work for Boeing after its acquisition of the Hughes satellite business. In 2005, he became the CEO of PCIA (now, WIA – the Wireless Infrastructure Association), the trade association for cellular towers, small cells, and distributed antenna systems providing wireless communications services. At PCIA, Mike led the successful legislative effort leading to the passage of section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. He continued his fifty-year telecommunications career as a consultant and Counsel at the Keller and Heckman law firm, representing clients in international satellite system requirements, FCC matters, and wireless infrastructure issues.
Throughout his career, Mike embraced life with his family – his sister, his parents, his wife, his daughters, and his grandchildren. Colleagues, neighbors, and friends also knew him as a kind man who listened and helped when he could. He was passionate about music, following the careers of exceptional songwriters and musicians across all genres. Those who knew him continued to marvel at the intention he brought to his interests, building his appreciation as he read and discovered more. Over the years, he collected sports cards and trains, Japanese woodblock prints, music literature, British commemorative china, art, aloha shirts, watches, and in recent years gained an encyclopedic knowledge of Legos.
Looking back on his life, Mike reflected that he had a wonderful run of it, through a happy childhood in Glenwood Springs, good education, and a career that was interesting and full. He loved his family and delighted in sharing his daughters’ and grandchildren’s daily lives. His only regret was not being able to share in his family’s continuing adventures and joys.
Mike is survived by his wife, Jean Prewitt, daughters Christine (Greg) Marick and Susannah Prewitt, ex-wife Aldona Fitch, and grandchildren Chloe and Oliver Marick, whom Mike so enjoyed watching in their academic and athletic endeavors during the last few years. His uncle Milford Kostman of Chicago also survives. His parents and sister Kathie pre-deceased him.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Los Angeles at a later date. Donations in his memory may be made to the Art One Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ (www.artonefoundation.com), the Salvation Army (salvationarmyusa.org) or your charity of choice.
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