Commander Thomas Clifford Fritz, USN

Commander Thomas Clifford Fritz, USN

December 11, 1940 ~ January 29, 2024

Date of Service:
March 02, 2024

Date of Interment:
March 01, 2024

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Thomas Clifford Fritz, age 83, died January 29, 2024, at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida.

He was born December 11, 1940, in Monroe, Wisconsin.

After earning a 4-year degree in Music Education, at Miami University, Oxford, OH, he lived in Indianapolis, IN; Key West, FL; Charleston, SC; Norfolk, VA; Honolulu, HI; La Mesa, CA; Long Beach, CA; Newport, RI; Sun Prairie, WI; Springfield/ Fairfax, VA; and Vero Beach, FL.

Tom was a career Naval Officer, qualified in the Navy for Command at Sea, retiring after 24 years of service as Commander, USN. During his first 12 years in the Navy, he served 3 tours in Vietnam and supported 5 campaigns. He attended Naval Destroyer School, Naval Command and Staff College, the Naval War College, and taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison Campus. He spent the last 11 years of his career at the pentagon working for the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Naval Personnel, and the Chief of Naval Research.

He was awarded 3 meritorious service medals, two Naval Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal. He earned ribbons and medals for National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Frond, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Navy Expert Pistol Medals, Navy Unit Commendation, RVN Staff Service 1st Class, and RVN Civic Action 1st Class.

Following retirement in 1987, Tom worked for defense contractors in Washington, D.C., Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Ft. Pierce, FL, and the Transportation Board of Counsel Aging, Vero Beach, FL where he established the GoLine Public Transportation System for Indian River County. In 1997, CDR Fritz and his wife Sue Ann, opened Fritz Violin Shop and started the public school orchestra program which has grown in size and stature, acquiring both national and international acclaim for excellence. He then started the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra, which is a volunteer community orchestra service for our local citizens. During this time, he taught Violin and Viola to public and private students in the community.

In 1992, Tom joined Trinity Episcopal Church and subsequently served as a member of the Vestry and Senior Warden. He served on the building committee and was co-chair of the capital campaign for Trinity raising over $12 million dollars. He transferred to Christ Church Vero Beach and helped to establish their new church in the Vero Mall and then transferred to St. Paul’s Church serving again on the building committee for the new church on Flamevine Lane on the Barrier Island.

CDR Fritz was an accomplished Violinist, having played for over 70 years, and a founding member of the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra, where he played first violin. Tom performed in a number of String Quartets and was a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Vero Beach Sunrise.

Survivors include his loving spouse, Sue Ann (Shaw) Fritz; sons CAPT David Thomas Fritz, USN RET (Terri) and SCPO Douglas Todd Fritz, USN (Betsy); 3 granddaughters Erin Elizabeth Morillo (Jan Paul), Emily Paige Holland (Cameron), and Leah Nicole McCrary (Taylor); and 1 great grandson Christian James Morillo.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra, P.O. Box 651334, Vero Beach, FL 32965.

Interment for Commander Fritz with full military honors will be held 9:00 a.m. Friday, March 1, 2024, at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, 5525 US-1, Mims, Florida 32754.

A Celebration of Commander Fritz’s Life will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday, March 2nd, 2024, at Christ Church Vero Beach, 667 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.


Date of Service:
March 02, 2024

Date of Interment:
March 01, 2024

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Condolence

Ernesto Aguilar - Co-worker.

February 10, 2024, 7:36 pm

Doug, My most heartfelt condolences to you and your loved ones for the loss of such an honorable and accomplished father. God bless you and your loved ones. Sincerely, Ernesto N Aguilar

David Retzke, CAPT (USN-Ret.) - Fellow Navy Officer

February 26, 2024, 3:48 pm

I was deeply saddened to hear of Tom’s passing. I served with him at the University of Wisconsin from 1975-1978. As a young lieutenant then, Tom became my mentor and helped me both professionally and personally during this time. He was a kind hearted, yet spirited person who always looked out for others, whether staff or his students. It was my honor to know him and to share the uniform with him. My prayers will be with Tom’s family during this sad and difficult transition. I know that Tom is with his Lord and Savior now.

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