ASHLAND, Ore. Even in death, Chet Fitch is a card.
Fitch, known for his sense of humor, died in October at age 88 but gave his friends and family a start recently: Christmas cards, 34 of them, began arriving written in his hand with a return address of "Heaven."
The greeting read: "I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards. At first he said no; but at my insistence he finally said, 'Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don't (tarry) there.' Wish I could tell you about things here, but words cannot explain.
"Better get back as Big Guy said he stretched a point to let me in the first time, so I had better not press my luck. I'll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think). Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Chet Fitch"
A friend for nearly 25 years, Debbie Hansen Bernard said, "All I could think was, 'You little stinker."'
"It was amazing," she said. "Just so Chet, always wanting to get the last laugh."
The mailing was a joke Fitch worked on for two decades with his barber, Patty Dean, 57. She told the Ashland Daily Tidings this week that he kept updating the mailing list and giving her extra money when postal rates went up. This fall, she said, Fitch looked up to her from the chair.
"You must be getting tired of waiting to mail those cards," he told her. "I think you'll probably be able to mail them this year."
He died a week later.