Luther Foster Fleming
1918 - 2008, Santa Barbara
Luther Foster Fleming passed away peacefully in Santa Barbara on February 20, 2008, at the age of 89. Known by his family and friends variously as "Luke," "Rip," "Foster," "Dad," or "Pop-Pop," he was a private man of great integrity who loved and was loved dearly by his family and close friends.
Rip was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on November 14, 1918, to Burton and Florence Fleming, both college professors. When his parents died while he was still a teenager, he moved to Glendale, California, to live with his Aunt Clara and Uncle Eldon Bacon. He attended UCLA, joining Theta Delta Chi fraternity, and studied there until his induction into the service in 1941. During World War II, he served for five years in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of major and commanding an anti-aircraft battery that fought in the European theater, including the Battle of the Bulge.
At war's end, Rip returned to L.A. to attend and graduate from UCLA. There he met and married Barbara Toney. Barbara and "Luke," as she calls him, were married for 59 years. They have four children (Debbie, Allyn, Burt, and Rip, Jr.) and two grandchildren (Hannah and Ryan). Rip and Barbara made a loving home in Whittier, California, until the year 2000, when they moved to Santa Barbara to be closer to family. Rip is preceded in death by his brother, Rear Admiral Allan Fleming, his sister, Allaire McGill, and his son Burt.
Rip worked for Security Pacific National Bank in Los Angeles for 36 years, retiring as a First Vice President in 1983. From 1983 on, he served as a special consultant to the board of directors of Home Depot. Home Depot honored him with a "Founders' Award" in 1999, one of his proudest moments. After retirement, Rip spent time doing what he loved most: golfing, sailing, fishing, traveling, playing guitar, and spending time with family and friends. His family especially remembers many happy summers swimming and sailing at Alamitos Bay in Southern California, a family sailing adventure in the British Virgin Islands (his dream trip), and happy family gatherings in Whittier, Del Mar, Mammoth, Hawaii, and Santa Barbara.
Rip's family would like to thank all the staff at Samarkand's Smith Center for their loving care and attention over the last seven months. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Surfrider Foundation or the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.