Prof. Rodney Fitch CBE 1938-2014

It is with a heavy heart that the Fitch family bring the sad news that Father, Grandfather and Husband, Rodney Fitch passed away on the morning of the 20th October 2014.

His cancer returned in April this year and although he fought valiantly against this horrible disease, it took its hold very quickly and his health deteriorated very rapidly in the last couple of weeks.

Rodney spent his last few weeks at his beautiful house in Wiltshire and passed away in the early hours of this morning peacefully surrounded by all his loving family.

Messages of condolence can be left below or using the contact page, please feel free to pass this sad news on to other people.

Funeral/memorial arrangements have yet to be finalised, but for now…take care and remember the wonderful man Rodney Fitch.

With kind regards,
Janet, Polly, Emily, Louisa, Tessa, Edward and his nine Grandchildren


UPDATE: Message from the Fitch family

Please leave your message 81

  1. Bruce Shepherd

    Very sad news and my condolences to the family.
    I had the privilege to work and travel with Rodney in the early ‘Rodney Fitch & Company’ days at Half Moon Street, with many fond memories.
    I mind one particularly awkward card exchanging ritual in a board room in the far east, with the client chairman being left confused as to “which was the famous Rodney Fitch”. I remember gesticulating towards the big fellow and proclaiming “this is the famous Mr. Fitch……………..and we just keep him company”, to which he chuckled, cleared his throat and proceeded to thoroughly charm their socks off in his inimitable way.
    He was truly inspirational company for so many of us who new and worked with him.

  2. Andy Myring

    Rodney was a gentleman in every sense of the word.
    It was a pleasure to know him, work for him and learn from him.
    He is a design “giant” and his legacy lives on.
    My thoughts are with his family.

  3. Marian Kelly

    I joined Fitch straight from college in 1980 – how lucky was I. It was a special place at a special time and Rodney was a special man – very charismatic and inspirational and always had time for everyone – including lowly graduates like me. My thoughts are with all the family.

  4. Howard Saunders

    Dearest Rodney

    I am so proud to have known you, so privileged to have worked with you and so grateful to have been inspired by you. You set the tone for a industry in its infancy: free thinking, democratic, uncynical and with people at its heart. We learned everything from you. Thank you.

  5. iris yau

    “I always felt that I had a mission in life to deliver to ordinary people better places to shop. I have little interest in Issey Miyake or haute couture design. The thing that really turns me on is working for Woolworth’s, Marks and Spencer and Boots stores – which touch everyone’s life.”

    #inspirational #noble

  6. Dawn Hesketh-Joslin

    So sad to hear that Rodney has passed away – for all of us who were lucky enough to work with him ( me at Half Moon Street and Great Portland Street ), we can look back with immense fondness to times of special friendships, brilliant adventures, amazing opportunities, and travel to far flung spaces and places, all under the guidance and care of Rodney. A truly inspirational chap. My thoughts are with his family at this time.

  7. Giles Marking

    What very sad news
    A courageous, passionate, feisty, brave, charming, cricket loving fellow. Tolerant of good ideas, intolerant of poor ones, old fashioned yet yet modern, so wonderfully English yet global. A very rare combination.
    What a privilege it was to have worked for him so so many wonderfully enjoyable years.

  8. Tom Redpath

    I had the fortune of starting my career during those happy days in Soho Square in the late 80s – Rodney was a huge inspiration and set me and, I know, many many of us on our way through this life of design. We all owe him a huge debt. So happy to hear he was at home surrounded by the love of his family. Rest peacefully now Rodney…

  9. Ken Irons

    A great friend, a great inspiration, a great help. His design for us lives on, a timeless tribute to someone who was always willing to give a hand. He will be missed.

  10. Gregg Sedgwick

    Rodney was a friend, mentor and inspiration. His belief in me and my team transformed my life. On our very first meeting, in Dubai, we discovered we were both ‘supporters’ of Swindon Town FC – probably the only two on that Continent! The relationship was sealed. When we joined Fitch, he told my team we had ‘joined the premier league’ and we would need to maintain our top four position. He had a way of motivating in a style which was simple yet brilliant. I loved our long chats and his way of remembering the smallest details of previous conversations. Whilst Rodney loved to talk about his life and experiences, he was always passionately interested in others – inquisitive about my family, my home renovation, my business….Rodney was a profound influence on my life and I was so fortunate to have shared time with him. I will miss him much. My thoughts go out to his family. He was always so full of praise and passion for each of you – you must be so so proud of such a great man.

  11. Patrick Smith

    I met Rodney in Dubai at Eurobest when he held a speech there. It was really an eye-opener for me when he said something like; “Sealing a deparment store would provide us with the best time-capsule over mankind of this specific era”. What we ate, what we wore, what we read, etc. I kept this mindblowing picture in my head and told it to others many times. RIP Mr Fitch.

    Patrick Smith

  12. Christian Schroeder

    My lasting memory of Rodney will be the regular in-depth discussions we had about wine and comparing notes on what we had bought…inevitably he had always bought something more interesting than I had (and better…). But it was the deep passion with which he spoke about wine (and design and, indeed, everything) as we consumed more of the stuff, that made him such wonderful company. I will drink a fine bottle for you Rodney!

  13. Kay Blewett

    To the professionals he was a colossus. To his family, even greater. To all the family, my heartfelt condolences at your massive loss. To the professionals, learn, live and breathe all that the Professor stood for.

  14. Henry Coelho

    A wonderful generous man ,who inspired all who worked with him to achieve excellence in everything we did .
    He created at Fitch & Co, a vibrant ,pioneering creative culture unrivalled and respected throughout the world.
    It was a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside him .
    His legacy and vision lives on through those who now because of him ,are leaders of our industry
    Thank you Rodney for all you did for me and all of us will be missed but will never be forgotten.
    Rest in peace

  15. Nick Bowman

    RIP Rodney, and condolences to your family. What an inspiring man. When I started up my own PR business he took me on as his PR man and for that I will always be grateful. I would sit an listen when he was interviewed by journalists at the way he could weave a story into something totally engaging whatever the subject. A giant who cannot be replaced.

  16. Manuela Fachin

    My sincere condolences to Rodneys family. What an incredible man with an amazing passion and gentle soul. It was with great pleasure to have known him during my time at Fitch. May you rest in peace.

  17. Corinne Pringle

    I was deeply saddened to hear the news about Rodney. Like many I was privilidged to spend my formative years at Fitch & Co. We all knew we were working in a special place at a special time – so many close friendships formed and so many creative individuals spiralled into the industry.
    I was privilidged to sit next to Rodney at an industry dinner last year and whilst the years had passed I was not surprised by his neverending enthusiasm for each individual and his genuine interest in people and their thoughts on design.
    Thank you Rodney for the best start anyone could wish for. We are all better for knowing you a little,
    Fondest wishes to your family at this time,
    You will live in all our hearts,

  18. Susan Robinson

    Susan Robinson
    God bless you Rodney. It was a privilege to know you and honour to work with you at FITCH. Thanks for believing in me, for sponsoring my MA at the RCA / V&A & for giving me my first ‘break’ working with all your talented (and gorgeous) designers at Soho Square & for all the fun we all had there. You may be out of sight but your influence will be seen clearly in many designer’s work & hearts for a very long time. You really gave us all the opportunity to have ‘A Wonderful Life’. Thank-you & Rest easy Big Man.

  19. Jon Baars

    Very happy memories of working at Half Moon Street and Great Portland Street, working for Rodney and a fantastically talented bunch of people which speaks volumes for his influence, will always remember your warmth and charisma. Thoughts with family will be much missed.

  20. Claudia Neri

    I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Rodney at the Cannes Lions and later at Dubai Lynx where he was chairman of the design Jury.
    Just talking to him over breakfast before the jury began made one feel inspired. And challenged, at the same time.
    Over and above being incredibly knowleadgeable and a powehouse he was generous, very entertaining and with an unusal capacity for empathy.
    His death is a great loss for the design profession and for those lucky enough to have known him

  21. George Foster

    Rodney was an inspirational man, and a pleasure to know. I have the honour of captaining the cricket team that bears his name, and even though wins are a rare commodity, Rodney’s support was unerringly positive and meant a lot to the team. You will be missed – we’ll try and win a few more next year in your memory.


  22. Richard

    We always raised an affectionate and reverent glass to him at the annual cricket dinner. Perhaps in future we should lay an empty Founder’s place. Much missed and long celebrated in any case.

  23. Simon Hamilton

    Working for Fitch, even for such a short time, was a great experience which I remember fondly. The energy and excitement was something special. Thank you for giving the world such delight. Sincerest condolences to all his family and close friends.

  24. Neil Whitehead

    Very sad news having spent many years working with Rodney it goes to say that his vision and belief in providing a better world for the everyman inspired a whole generation of designers and Architects. I have many fond memories of travelling playing cricket and having healthy debates about the world we live in, i will always cherish those times.
    Well done Rodney for influencing the world we live in and we/I will endeavour to continue the good standards you set . God Bless

  25. Catherine Nickson

    Hanway Place, Soho Square, Crinan Street, Half Moon Street and finally Great Portland Street….I was honored to be a part of each chapter. I learnt so much and grew up with you. Your knowledge, experience, charisma and wonderful hand written letters. The list of names here speaks for itself. What a heritage. To use your words…..

    “warmest regards, Rodney”

  26. Shan Preddy

    The British design industry will be a poorer place without Rodney’s guiding light to shine out and show the way. He was one of the giants who helped to build us into the powerful entity we are today, the envy of many other design communities around the world. Sincere condolences to Rodney’s family and friends at this time of great sadness and loss.

  27. Emma Booty

    His influence has been felt by so many of us and we owe him so much. I never met Rodney but what a privilege it’s been for me knowing of him and his big design heart. Sincere condolences.

  28. Nigel Carrington

    As a Governor of University of the Arts London for many years, Rodney was an inspirational force in the life of the University and a true friend of many Governors and staff. I am sending our condolences on behalf of his very many friends here at UAL.

  29. George Delaney

    I met with Rodney to assist with his personal affairs. Despite being the one who was there to impart their knowledge I always left our meetings a wiser man. R.I.P Rodney- great to have known you.

  30. Leigh Cain

    I joined Fitch + Co in 1983, it was my first real job as an Interior Designer, and my first project was Terminal 4 at LHR. Rodney did this thing called MBWA; Management by walking around, I’m not sure who coined the phrase but it certainly worked in a company of over 200 people. I remember my first meeting Rodney as he approached my drawing board and he took an interest in a detail I was drawing, suggesting an alternative way of designing it (I fail to remember what) and being fresh from Uni and knowing everything, decided he couldn’t possibly be right. Of course he was. Another time during a client presentation in the boardroom, with Rodney conducting, a heavy sample fell off the wall. Having made up the board, I was mortified, naively believing it would make or break the client relationship. He was very kind about it (it was fine) but I have never forgotten to fix samples properly.
    Fitch + Co was an institution, and you were honoured to work there.
    Rodney was a guru, a pioneer in design, a warm and generous man. When I met him in a design meeting twenty years later when I rejoined Fitch for a brief time in Gt Portland St, he said he recognised me (why would he, I was a young unknown), ‘but you’ve done something different to your hair’. I smiled, the charm was still evident. Bless him, he is in our design DNA and psyche, he will be so badly missed, and I’m so sorry for your loss.
    With kindest regards,

  31. Simon Jackson

    My own Father died yesterday- therefore with Rodney passing away I lost two big influences in my own life on the same day. My time at Hanway Place and Carlisle Street will never be forgotten, not only for the inspiration I got being with Fitch & Co and the impact on my career development generally but Rodney had a talent for gathering very smart, creative, talented and fun people around him- many of whom I still keep in close contact with……including my wife!
    I’ll remember Rodney as an infectious and inspiring individual but also a great bloke and great company. It is a privilege to have known Rodney Fitch.
    My sincere condolences to Janet and rest of the family.

    1. Hazel Marsh

      Simon – I agree with all your sentiments on Rodney and am so very sorry to hear of the passing of your Father, may he rest in peace and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this sad time.

  32. Linda Mitchell (Skelton)

    Rodney called the 80’s his “Golden Years” and l was privileged enough to have shared them with him. Rodney was an inspiring and Creative Master of Retail Design and it is with deep sorrow we now have to say goodbye to this special man.

    His memory and all that he stood for, will live on with so many.

  33. Gordon Simmonds

    For many years I studied Rodney’s work . He was an inspirational designer – his work motivated me to want to be a better designer .I bought all of his books and learned over many years through his publications . I am very sad to hear of his passing away – He was a great designer that touched people from every corner of the globe . He was a person that changed the way people think and he will be greatly missed . RIP Rodney Fitch .

    Gordon Simmonds .
    ID Solutions
    Australia .

  34. Scott Allan

    In the midst of recession, you gave me my first job.

    For that opportunity I have always been truly grateful.

    The legacy you have left will live on.

  35. Eddie McAtominey

    A major inspiration ..I loved my time at Fitch back in the eighties.
    It has been great to see him in recent years as a respected part of
    the current design landscape.
    A sad miss and one of the real design greats

  36. Brendan Martin

    Dear Janet, Polly, Emily, Louisa , Emily, and Edward,
    Am so very sad to hear about Rodney, and send lots of love to you all at this difficult time. I hope, in time you will draw strength and comfort from the love and admiration so many people had for Rodney, and remember him with joy as we do. What a difference he made, what style he had. And what a time we had when we were with him. We will raise a glass to him today and toast the passing of a really lovely man and a very dear friend.

    Brendan & Simon

  37. Michael Bissett-Powell

    I worked with Rodney way back in the early sixties, at Hanway Place. We texted each other only a few months ago and we promised to meet each other for a drink. Sadly, not to be…. I’ll never forget you. My sympathy to Rodney’s family.

  38. Carlos Virgile

    Very sad news, both professionally, for what he brought to the industry, and at a very personal level, for the impact he had in my life.
    A moment in time during the 80’s that marked everyone that worked at Fitch & Co.
    Thinking of Janet and the family.

  39. Richard Seymour

    Although we only worked together once, briefly, I was struck by his confident grasp of the complex and his clear perception of the roads forward for design in the 20th & 21st Century. Another giant passes on, leaving an indelible legacy. Farewell Rodney.

  40. Tim Greenhalgh

    There was never a dull moment working with you – you are a shining light and I am going to miss you deeply.
    Heartfelt condolences to your family.

    Rest in peace Rodney

  41. John Regan

    Sincere condolences to the FITCH family. Honoured to be working under the FITCH name today and to be a part of something that Rodney created all those years ago.

  42. Terry Waterhouse

    From the first time I read Rodney’s & Lance Knobel book Retail Design in 1990 I wanted to work with Rodney Fitch and believe it or not my dream came true when I first met Rodney in Hong Kong in 1998 and we ended up traveling to Manila together to attend a new business meeting and present a proposal. Subsequently having secured the project Rodney wrote me a hand written employment contract to become his MD for Rodney Fitch Asia, which he wrote in the early hours of the morning, slipped the contract under my hotel room door, before flying back to London on an early morning flight. Rodney was a true inspiration capturing many hearts, minds and their immigration with his passion for life, design, retail and later on in life with teaching. He was great raconteur and entertained everyone he meet. Rodney will be sadly missed by many people as he left a huge impression on all of us who had the privilege to work with and to get know the true Rodney Fitch. Condolances to all family & friends we will miss him.

    1. Terry Waterhouse

      Rodney was a true inspiration capturing many hearts, minds and their immigration with his passion for life, design, retail and later on in life with teaching. He was great raconteur and entertained everyone he meet. Rodney will be sadly missed by many people as he left a huge impression on all of us who had the privilege to work with and to get know the true Rodney Fitch. Condolances to all family & friends we will miss him.

    2. Terry Waterhouse

      Rodney will be sadly missed by many people as he left a huge impression on all of us who had the privilege to work with and to get know the true Rodney Fitch. Condolences to all family & friends we will miss him.

  43. Hazel Marsh

    I will never forget Rodney’s pride at all the fledglings he cast out to have successful businesses – me being one of them. My success is as a result of the chance he gave me, his inspiration and ability to coach in such a personable way. He will always be in my heart – my sincere condolences to his lovely family.
    Hazel Marsh

  44. Tracey Overman

    I was so shocked and saddened to hear the news that Rodney has passed away. He was such a special, inspirational, kind hearted, generous family man who loved his children dearly. He will be sorely missed. A very sad day.

    Sending my love and huge condolences to his family. xx

    Tracey Overman

  45. Henri Christiaans

    I am deeply saddened to hear of Rodney’s death. Such a loss for all of us.
    My condolences to his family and friends.

  46. Habib Beaini

    It is very sad.

    Rodney was an inspirational leader and a friend.

    Though I knew him for only a few years, I will never forget him.

    My deepest condolences to the family.

  47. Habib Beaini

    It is very sad.

    Rodney was an inspirational leader and a friend.

    Though I knew him for only a few years, I will never forget him. His wisdom and kindness are inspirational.

    My deepest condolences to the family.

  48. Ian Bellhouse

    A great friend and mentor, he remains an inspiration to us all…

    My sincere condolences to the FITCH family.

    Rest well Rodney.

  49. Majdoleen Till

    I am very fortunate as I was given the chance to work with and be inspired by Rodney.
    He left a great legacy behind and the design industry around the world will always be in debt for him

  50. Chris Dingcong

    Rodney left a great impression on me as a designer and as an individual. The design world just lost a great designer. He will be greatly missed.

  51. William

    Thank you Rodney for the memorable years I worked under your leadership. You were truly inspiring and a great person.

    R.I.P Rodney, you will always be remembered. The design world has lost a great pioneer.
    Condolences to your family.

  52. Shaun Myles

    I am shocked and saddened by news of Rodney’s passing.
    I had opportunity to met and interview Rodney, it was clear he was a great person
    as well as design guru. Again, a sad day!

  53. Dan O'Leary

    Very sad news; my condolences to the Fitch family.

    I was fortunate to work for Rodney at RF & Co. for a couple of years in the late nineties; my first job out of college. That short time taught me so much in a very formative period, but it also provided a fantastic group of people to learn from and hangout with. It was a great time with a ton of happy memories.

    RIP Rodney.

  54. Peter Shillingford

    Sad news…I was looking forward to our yearly lunch at the Savile…we were at college together in the 50’s…he was always way ahead in fashion…the floral ties were decades ahead of all the experts…a gentleman in every aspect and a pleasure to hang out with.

    Commiserations to his family and friends.

    He will be missed…I am still angry.

    Please let me know his memorial date.


  55. Martin Kemp

    sad news, the loss of a gentleman and a man who was a pleasure to work for.

    we all had such nice days with him, it’s the end of an era when his like go – never to be replaced. I smile thinking of how we laughed at his regularly wrongly addressed letters, such as those to ‘Rod-Net-Fish’ and ‘Rodina Finch’.

    so many of us so much to Rodney, we cut our design teeth with you, learned the trade and learned how to behave. I salute you.

  56. Simon Fleming

    A truly remarkable man. He offered insight with such blinding clarity, coupled with humour and generosity. It was a priviledge to know and work with him. My condolences to his family and close friends. He will be missed – a very sad day indeed.

  57. Leo William Biles

    My dear friend, always in my thoughts and prayers………..We will miss you so very much.
    My condolences to all the family. A Mans Man and True

  58. Carine Abou Saab Pereira

    A great and inspiring Man! May his soul RIP. Sincere condelences to his family and friends and to all FITCH family.

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