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Bill Fitch

Husband honors wife with art donation

Beth Fitch was in the care of Spartanburg Regional Hospice for only about 36 hours before she passed away at her home.

“It was tough,” said her husband, Bill. “Her condition declined more rapidly than I had expected when she entered hospice care.”

In that short period of time, though, Bill was impressed by the attentive and compassionate care his wife received.

He wanted to give back to show his gratitude. Beth loved to paint, so in late 2016, he donated a high-quality print of one of Beth’s paintings to Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home. The gift was made through Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Healing Arts program.

“It’s a beautiful painting,” said Kim Ross, director of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care. “It’s so meaningful to have the work of local artists in our Hospice Home – and particularly special to receive a piece of art that was created by a patient who was served by Spartanburg Regional Hospice.”

Beth Fitch had always possessed an artistic side and studied interior design at the University of Georgia. She and Bill met in Athens, Ga., where he was stationed for Navy training.

After stints in Atlanta and New Jersey, Bill’s career brought them to Spartanburg in the late 1960s. They bought a house in Hillbrook, on Spartanburg’s east side, and raised four children.

“It was great,” he said. “We loved it the second we got here.”

The Fitches joined Central Methodist Church, where Bill remains an active member. When their two youngest children, twins Steve and Andy, reached high school age, Beth found time to pursue her artistic interests in earnest. She and friends from church took classes together, and Beth started spending more of her free time working on painting projects.

“She really loved painting,” Bill said.

She took part in a number of exhibitions locally and was even juried in a statewide watercolors show.

Beth was diagnosed in 1987 with an autoimmune disorder that caused non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. She required a transplant in 2008, and the cirrhosis came back in 2011 in the new liver.

Then, in 2015, Beth was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Because her liver was weak, chemotherapy took a devastating toll on her health. She died in September of 2016, less than six months after her diagnosis.

Beth is remembered for her friendly disposition and concern for others.

“She had a big smile for everybody and blessed everybody’s hearts,” Bill said. “Even when she had to be hospitalized at Spartanburg Medical Center in the midst of her cancer battle, she stayed positive. The nurses fell all over themselves for her.”

The last painting she completed was of a butterfly that landed in the Fitches’ backyard. Bill liked the idea of it hanging in the Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home.

“I thought Beth’s butterfly was a nice, uplifting painting,” he said.