Ferdinand T. “Ferd” Fletcher, a founding member of Higgs Fletcher & Mack, passed away on September 18 at the age of 94. The cause of death was pneumonia and complications from various age-related health problems, according to his son Bob. Mr. Fletcher had a long and distinguished career with the firm. During nearly 50 years of practicing law he helped lay the groundwork for the Salk Institute and headed such organizations as the San Diego Rotary Club and the Armed Services YMCA. In 1939, “Ferd” and DeWitt “Dutch” Higgs became law partners and were joined in 1940 by Henry “Pitts” Mack to form the firm of Higgs Fletcher & Mack.
“Ferd was known as the consummate gentleman lawyer, very handsome and poised” said managing partner, John Morrell. You never heard anybody who didn’t appreciate his ethics and gentlemanly approach.”
As an expert in land-use issues, Mr. Fletcher was involved in clearing the way for Cabrillo Freeway through Balboa Park in 1948. He helped form the corporate structure of the Salk Institute and served as its legal counsel and a secretary and trustee. Over the years, Mr. Fletcher was president of the San Diego County Bar Association, president of the California Easter Seal Society, president of the San Diego and national societies for Crippled Children and Adults, chairman of the Economic Development Corp. of San Diego, and chairman of the county Airport Advisory commission.
Mr. Fletcher retired from the full-time practice of law in 1987 and continued with the firm as a legal consultant until the mid 1990’s. “Ferd had the finest character of any lawyer with whom I’ve worked,” said long time partner, Margaret Anne Payne. “The combination of him being a fine lawyer and a person whom clients could trust led to a very stable and enduring firm.” “Ferd was a wonderful example to the lawyers at the firm for the way he put clients first and took on civic responsibilities,” said partner Craig Higgs, son of Dutch Higgs, who died in 1994. “Ferd was a mentor to young lawyers.”
Services are scheduled for 4 p.m., October 13 at All Souls Episcopal Church, Point Loma. Donations are suggested to the San Diego Armed Services YMCA or the Ed and Mary Fletcher Fund at the San Diego Foundation.
Williams, Jack. “Developer’s Son and Lawyer Served Community with Ease.” The San Diego Union-Tribune. 20. Sept. 2005.