Lewis Rufus (Lew) Hitch 2
- Born: 16 Jul 1929, Griggsville, Pike Co., IL 1
- Marriage (1): Danna Jeanne Foltz on 29 Aug 1953 in Manhattan, KS 1
- Died: 08 Feb 2012, Wamego, KS
- Buried: Abt 11 Feb 2012, Belle Plaine Cemetery, Sumner Co., KS
According to John N. Mahon, Lewis "Lew" Hitch was a professional basketball player for the Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers). He played with the great George Miken teams of the 1950s. His lifetime record as a professional was found on-line as follows. Note his height at 6' - 8".
Lew Hitch Height = 6'8" Weight = 200 pounds DOB = 16-Jul-29 College = Kansas State
Year Team G M/Gm FGm FGa PCT 3m 3a PCT FTm FTA PCT AVG 51-52 Mie 61 13.9 77 215 .358 - - - 63 94 .670 3.6 52-53 Mie 70 14.7 89 255 .349 - - - 83 136 .610 3.7 53-54 Mil 72 34.1 221 603 .367 - - - 133 208 .639 8.0 54-55 Mil-Min 74 24.0 167 417 .400 - - - 115 169 .680 6.1 55-56 Mie 69 16.4 94 235 .400 - - - 100 132 .758 4.2 56-57 Min-Phi 68 16.7 111 296 .375 - - - 63 88 .716 4.2 Total 414 20.2 759 2021 .376 - - - 557 827 .674 5.0
Year AS AS/g ST ST/G TO TO/g BK BK/g OR OR/g TR TR/g PF PF/g DQ 51-52 50 0.8 - - - - - - - - 243 4.0 89 1.5 3 52-53 66 0.9 - - - - - - - - 275 3.9 122 1.7 2 53-54 141 2.0 - - - - - - - - 691 9.6 176 2.4 3 54-55 125 1.7 - - - - - - - - 438 5.9 110 1.5 0 55-56 77 1.1 - - - - - - - - 283 4.1 85 1.2 0 56-57 40 0.6 - - - - - - - - 253 3.7 103 1.5 0 Total 499 1.2 - - - - - - - - 2183 5.3 685 1.7 8
LEWIS HITCH , died Feb. 8 in Kansas. A former member of the Minneapolis Lakers, Fitch was one of the tallest players to play basketball in Pike County. Locals who remember him put his height at nearly 7-feet. He was born and attended schools in Griggsville. "He was one of the tallest men to come out of this area," Richard "Champ" Collins, a former Griggsville teammate of the NBA star, said. "He was a good player." Fitch graduated from Griggsville High School in 1947, Collins in 1948. The two were starters on an Eddie Willard coached basketball team. "There were only six of us that played a lot that year," Collins said. Other team members were: John Rumple, Roy Hildreth, Farrin Seeds, Don Goewey, Keith Bradshaw, Morris Moore and Carl Bartlett. After graduating high school, Hitch attended Culver-Stockton Junior College on a basketball scholarship before attending Kansas State University to play basketball. During his senior season at Kansas State, the basketball team finished runner-up in the NCAA finals in 1951 to Kentucky. After college Lew was selected 19th overall in the 1951 NBA Draft, by the Minneapolis Lakers. Lew went on to average 5.0 points per game in his seven-year career, highlighted by two back-to-back world championships with the Lakers. Buster Craven, also of Griggsville, remembers Hitch. Craven was the same age as Fitch's brother, Roy, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. "He was real nice guy," Craven said. "And a heck of a ball player. He knew you whenever he saw you." Craven recalls a time in 1954 when he was on guard duty at Great Lakes Naval Base. "I was on patrol and a car pulled up and I was checking them in like you were supposed to do," Craven said. "A guy in the car said 'Hi, Buster,' and it was Lewie. His team was there to play the Blue Jackets in an exhibition game. He asked me to come over and watch them play but I didn't get to. I always wished I had." After playing basketball Lew went into coaching and teaching which led him to Ellis, Kan. and Wichita, Kan. for 12 years before moving his family to Westmoreland, Kan. in 1971, where he became the Superintendent of USD #323 until his retirement in 1990. Lew was a member of the NBA Retired Players Association. "He was a good friend," Collins said. 'We had a good time together."
Lewis "Lew" R. Hitch
Born: July 16, 1929
Died: February 08, 2012
Lewis "Lew" Rufus Hitch, 82, of Westmoreland, Kansas passed away Wednesday, February 8, 2012, at Wamego City Hospital, in Wamego, Kansas.
Lew was born in Griggsville, Illinois on July 16, 1929, the son of Rufus and Maurine (Jennings) Hitch. He attended schools in Griggsville. After graduating high school he attended Culver-Stockton Junior College on a basketball scholarship before attending Kansas State University to play basketball. During Lew's senior season at Kansas State, the basketball team finished runner-up in the NCAA finals in 1951 to Kentucky. After college Lew was selected 19th overall in the 1951 NBA Draft, by the Minneapolis Lakers. Lew went on to average 5.0 points per game in his 7 year career, highlighted by 2 back-to-back world championships with the Lakers.
On August 29, 1953, Lew married Danna Jean Foltz in Manhattan, Kansas; she preceded him in death on July 12, 2004. After playing basketball Lew went into coaching and teaching which led Lew and Danna to Ellis, KS and Wichita, KS for 12 years before Lew moved his family to Westmoreland, Kansas in 1971, where he became the Superintendent of USD #323 until his retirement in 1990. Lew was a member of the NBA Retired Players Association. Over the years he enjoyed golf, watching sporting events, playing bridge and cards and was a master of crossword puzzles. Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.
Lew is survived by 3 sons: Dan Hitch and wife Mona, of Springfield, Tennessee, Ken Hitch and wife Christie of Wamego, Kansas and Ed Hitch and wife Paula of Elizabethtown, Kentucky; 1 sister: Donna Ditmer, of Chicago, Illinois; 2 brothers: Roy Hitch of Phoenix, AZ and Norm Hitch and wife Bev, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; 7 grandchildren: Shawn, Kelly, Casey, Kelsey, Colton, John and Elena and 4 great-grandchildren: Olivia, Emma, Riley and Belle. He was preceded in death by his wife Danna.
Cremation has taken place and a private family graveside memorial service was held. Family is inviting everyone to a gathering to celebrate Lew's life on Sunday, February 12, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. \endash 3:00 p.m. at the Celebrations, 706 4th St., Wamego, KS. In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials be made to USD #323 and may be left in care of the Stewart Funeral Home, PO Box 48, Wamego, KS 66547
Lewis married Danna Jeanne Foltz on 29 Aug 1953 in Manhattan, KS.1 (Danna Jeanne Foltz was born on 30 Sep 1931, died on 12 Jul 2004 in Westmoreland, KS and was buried about 15 Jul 2004 in Belle Plaine Cemetery, Sumner Co., KS.)