Joseph “Del” Hitch, 89, of The Villages, Florida passed away on Thursday, April 4, 2019. Del was born in Tokyo, Japan, where his father was a sales representative in Asia for the Dorr Company. After the family’s return to the United States in 1937, Del lived in Connecticut, attending South Kent School for his preparatory years, Williams College and Colorado College for his undergraduate degree. Del spent 17 years in Colorado where he raised his 4 wonderful children with his wife, Judy, and co-founded the National Association of Rocketry in 1958, an organization that continues to thrive internationally and is recognized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.
Before moving to The Villages in 2004, Del lived with his current wife Jean, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. During the years of the U.S. Space Program, Del held positions with General Electric, RCA, and Martin-Marietta, and participated in development projects for the U.S. Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory, the Navy Aegis Radar Program, and the Titan and Gemini Space Programs. His subsequent work with Raytheon United Engineers & Constructors took him to Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
He is survived by his loving wife Jean Hitch; children Walter D. Hitch (Maureen), Stephen D. Hitch (Eileen), Melanie Hitch Dye and Joseph D. Hitch, IV (Sherrie); grandchildren Kimberly Downey (Mike), Kelsey Hitch, Caroline Taylor-Hitch and Eric Taylor-Hitch; great-grandchildren Logan Downey and Kellen Downey; siblings Henry H. Hitch, Joan V.N. Powell and Philip D. Hitch.
A celebration of life gathering will be held on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 from 12 pm- 2pm, located at The Laurel Manor Recreation Center, 1985 Laurel Manor Dr., The Villages, FL 32162.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his memory to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, https://curealz.org/.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at hiers-baxley.com. Arrangements are under the care of Hiers-Baxley Funeral and Cremation Life Event Center, The Villages.