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John Fletcher, a former ATC employee who continued to volunteer after he left ATC in 2010, passed away unexpectedly this past weekend. He was just 38.
John began his career with ATC as an information center volunteer in 2002. In 2003, he was hired as ATC's information assistant, and served very capably in that role for seven years. He became quite knowledgeable about the A.T. and went to great lengths to research answers to inquiries received from the general public. As one hiker who visited ATC frequently noted on her TrailJournals site, "John knows everything." He was also very handy, envisioning and realizing the renovations downstairs that now serve as our "hiker lounge" off the back of the visitor center space.
In 2005, John took a leave of absence so that he could help GPS the A.T. in Maine and New Hampshire. Throughout his tenure at ATC, he served as an A.T. volunteer with the local club here, PATC. He was an overseer of an A.T. Shelter in Maryland and maintained a section of the A.T. just south of Harpers Ferry. He continued to give back to the Trail right up until his final days. One of John's more unique contributions was the conversion into digital media of old historic video footage of Myron Avery and his PATC work trips retrieved from the ATC archives. Most recently, he filmed speakers and the parade during the 75th Anniversary festival in Harpers Ferry.
John had a lifelong love of the A.T. that started with day hiking trips as a youngster. His first backpacking trip on the A.T. was with his father when he was 13. John and his father Bob continued to backpack together, both working on their goal of section-hiking the A.T. John also recruited his father to volunteer on numerous fix-it projects here at the Harpers Ferry building, in some cases, quite literally "keeping the lights on."
John is a life member of ATC.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.