Werner Fitze was born during a mountain snowstorm in a farming village outside of St. Gallen, Switzerland on October 7, 1928. The long time Vashon Island resident traveled the world and passed peacefully in Des Moines, WA. October 9, 2023.
Upon graduation Werner earned an apprenticeship at a top Swiss travel agency. Transferred to Geneva, he advanced quickly and met more Americans. In the late 40’s he boarded an unpressurized DC-4 forthe rough and ready trip to New YorkCity. Paying the princely fee of 90 cents/day for his YMCA room, he was hooked on the USA. Upon his return he was posted to New York as a Swissair supervisor.
Transferred to Lima, Peru, Werner proposed to his future wife, Paula Bianca (Pauly) Coprez over the phone. The cost of that hours-long talk to NYC was a whopper. They began their 52 year marriage by travelling across the USA by Nash Rambler to Werner’s high level Swissair posts until life became too easy. Alaska beckoned.
Together they built two homes in Alaska in the 1960’s to 1970’s, Werner studying how to build log cabins at the local library while founding and operating his own travel firm, Werner Travel. One home was a fly-in site with all materials landing on the lake in a float plane. In the early 1980’s the couple moved to Vashon Island to a home above Lisabeula. After 27 years they moved to Judson Park Senior Living in 2008. Paula passed away in 2013.
Werner married Clara Jean Sias in 2017 and they lived together at Judson Park. They travelled the world, including Alaska, Switzerland and Lapland and the North Pole aboard the Hurtigueten Mail ship. An honorary member of the Swiss Sportsman’s Club of Tacoma, Werner is survived by his wife Clara. A Celebration of Life will be held at Judson Park Saturday, November 4, at 2pm.