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News > Obituaries > Obituary - Stephen Fletcher (OI 1964-71)

Obituary - Stephen Fletcher (OI 1964-71)

We are sorry announce the passing of Stephen Fletcher (OI 1964-71).
30 May 2023
Obituaries
Steve looking the happiest of the steeplechasers
Steve looking the happiest of the steeplechasers

Stephen will be sadly missed by his family and friends.

We are conscious that some people from his time at the School may not be in contact with us and we would ask if you could pass on this information to those that you know.

As is the usual practice, we would like to place an obituary for Stephen in the 2022-2023 OI Journal and would be very grateful for any stories or memories you may wish to share which we could put together for the publication. Please address any contributions to me through oldipswichians@ipswich.school.

Nicholas Allen

OI Chairman

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I was sorry to hear of the death of Stephen Fletcher, the second of my exact contemporaries to pass away that I am aware of. I remember him as a talented rugby player, a very fast right winger. Stephen and I shared a 6th Form study with Andy Barnett, in which, I am afraid to say, there was probably rather more playing of darts than actual studying. I regret that I didn’t keep in touch after we left school, the OI Club being less assiduous in organising reunions in those days.

Martin Kirk (OI 1964-71)

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I remember Stephen developed into a fast runner in the senior school, and beat me in the long jump, which I thought I would win that year!
I think he won the hundred metres at sports day and played on the wing at rugby. My thoughts are with his family.

Chris McLauchlan (OI 1964-71)

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I met Steve Fletcher in first form when he joined the School in 1964. He was already good friends with Andy Barnett (OI 1964-71) who had joined at the same time. I had come up from Prep School with my dear friend, the late André Ptaszynski (OI 1960-71) and the four of us soon became close friends, forming a bond that lasted well beyond our schooldays.


Steve was an easy person to like – he always had a smile on his face and laughed readily at anything and everything. And almost everything he said finished with a little chuckle that to me was Steve’s trademark. He was a bright boy, having been awarded a Queen’s Scholarship (like Andy and André) and so was often consulted on homework! He didn’t excel at the traditional school team games although he was a useful rugby winger, but his tall, lean physique made him a great athlete and he starred in both track and field. He regularly won multiple events at sports days and in his final year at school was runner up in the Victor Ludorum. He also represented Suffolk and was the county champion in both the 200m and Triple Jump. Steve always preferred soccer to rugby and a group of us including Steve, Andy and Daniel Wherrett  (who was a gifted soccer player) often used to go over to Christchurch Park after school for a kick around, with one of us in a makeshift goal and the others sending in crosses for a striker to try and score. Steve, Andy and I also used to regularly be in the North Stand at Portman Road watching our beloved Ipswich Town play and singing along with the North Stand cheer squad. A few years later, Steve and I went to Wembley to see Town beat Arsenal 1-0 in the 1978 FA Cup final, and I remember we were grinning from ear to ear afterwards as we walked back to the station – but for me at least this stopped suddenly when an Arsenal supporter walking towards us decked me as he passed, with a solid punch to my jaw!


After taking ‘O’ levels a year early in the accelerated class, Steve, Andy and I chose Maths, Physics and Chemistry for ‘A’ levels where we were taught by Headmaster Mermagen, Mr Simmonds and Mr Defoe. Steve was strong in all three, but excelled at Chemistry winning the 6th Form Chemistry Cup. Physics was our weakest subject – perhaps because we spent a fair bit of the lessons talking about music, and in particular Cream who were the group of our time. Steve and I then both headed for engineering at Imperial College – Steve doing electrical and me civil. It was during his time there that he met the lovely Marguerite (‘Mags’). As Mags says “it was pretty much love at first sight and, whilst his rock star good looks may have been the initial attraction, it quickly became apparent to me that Steve was a ‘keeper’ – bright, funny and kind – someone I could trust with my heart and soul – and he never let me down.”


From Imperial, Steve became a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse, and then joined Unisys - the company he stayed with all his working life - where he went on to become an FCA, Chartered Treasurer, Financial Director and Pension Trustee. His work colleagues described him as ‘the best of the best’, ‘an absolute professional’ and ‘a gentleman in every sense of the word’.

Steve and Mags married just after his final accountancy exams and had two sons Nicholas, born in 1984 and Chris born two years later. They lived in Chalfont and Steve quickly became a doting father who always wanted the best for his boys and he was thrilled and proud to see them both succeed in their chosen careers. More recently grandchildren ensued and Steve of course transformed himself into a doting grandfather.


As I had emigrated to Australia soon after Steve’s marriage, I unfortunately lost touch with him and we only reconnected on the death of our friend André Ptaszynski in July 2020. During the Covid lockdowns we spoke on Zoom and by email and I had arranged to visit Steve and Mags in the UK this year. Unfortunately, Steve, who had a history of heart issues that slowed him down in later life, went into hospital in January for a valve replacement operation that was beset with complications and sadly he didn’t survive it. In May, I visited Mags and met their son Nick who reminded me so much of Steve – he had the same physique as his father, the same quick-wittedness and the same ease about him that brought memories of Steve flooding back.


I regret the missed years of my friendship with Steve and think of him often – he was just a lovely person who took pleasure in the joy and success of others and admired knowledge, intellect, humour, kindness and integrity – qualities which he himself possessed in spades.

 

Written by Nick Abram OI (1960-71) in collaboration with Marguerite Fletcher

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