By BRAD KEITH
(September 1, 2015) — Fire chief. Community Builder Award winner. Citizen of the Year. Economic Development Board past president. Chamber of Commerce past president. Five-Star Dairy Queen owner.
Husband. Father. Grandfather.
James Fritts, 70, wore many hats and earned many titles during his life, which ended Tuesday when he passed away at a Fort Worth hospital. He was transported there by air ambulance from his property in Dublin when he suffered Pancreatitis that led to gall bladder problems last week, and earlier this week took a turn for the worse that landed him back in the intensive care unit.
The Masonic Lodge gave Fritts its prestigious Community Builder’s Award, and Karen Wright, executive director of the Dublin Economic Development Corporation, said she could think of no better words to describe her longtime friend.
“Community builder, that’s exactly what he was,” said Wright. “He served on every board we have in Dublin and was a past president of most of them.”
Wright said there was no better corporate supporter of Dublin than Fritts and the Dublin Dairy Queen, and adds that his DQ restaurants are equally supportive in each of their respective communities.
Fritts served as chief of the Dublin Volunteer Fire Department for more than 30 years, Wright said, and until his passing was the only original member still serving on the economic development board he was president of for many years.
Dublin Mayor David Leatherwood has spent his whole life close to Fritts.
“James Fritts was one of a kind. He did so much for so many. Most people think of him as the fire chief or DQ owner, but he did so much more. He was always the first to help,” said Leatherwood. “He was my neighbor growing up. His son David was my best friend, so I spent a lot of time at their house. He took me to my first Rangers baseball game and coached me in Little League baseball. They even took me on vacation.
“It’s men like James Fritts who make you want to do more for you community,” added the mayor. “My thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
Wright said she was “broken hearted” at the loss of her friend, and added, “I know the whole community feels the same way.
“We lost one of the greats,” Wright added. “He was a great friend to Dublin.”