Fletcher Purmedus Reynolds IV,54, of Olathe, KS, passed away unexpectedly at his home on May 16, 2022. He was a legendary character with a joyful, gentle soul that you could never forget.
Fletch blessed the world with an early arrival, born prematurely on March 24, 1968 in Silver Spring, MD. At only 2 lbs, 12 oz, he was challenged both physically and mentally with special needs that many people at the time did not understand. Doctors insisted he would need to live his life in a state institution, but his parents refused to allow that to happen and chose to give him the best life possible instead.
After relocating to Kansas, at the age of 4, Fletch was enrolled into a special education program through the Lakemary Center while living in Overland Park, KS. Thanks to the determination of his mother, and many amazing staff/teachers/administration of the Lakemary Center, Fletch was given a life beyond what was ever expected. Fletch was able to make many life-long friends in the program while receiving a strong education, which then allowed him to enroll in public school during junior high. He was also able to participate in many extra-curricular activities and sports through Lakemary. He also won several medals and awards during the Special Olympics by competing in sports such as basketball, softball, and bowling.
In 1983, Fletch moved to Spring Hill, KS, where he continued to thrive and defy the odds by graduating from Gardner Edgerton High School. After school, and again with the assistance of Lakemary Center, Fletch was able to work as a grocery sacker at Dillons in Olathe, KS, while living in a group home and eventually, into his own apartment.
Fletch had excellent math skills and loved numbers so much, that (after a dare from his brother Chris) he actually wrote his numbers by hand from one to one million, which consumed 18 notebooks full of paper. After receiving a certificate of recognition from Guinness Book of World Records, his story made the front page of the Kansas City Star which show-cased how he overcame his disabilities to find success. Not long after, U.S. Senator Bob Dole learned of the story and reached out to Fletch to use him as the primary example on the Congressional Record in order to pass the Americans with Disabilities act in 1990. At 22 years old, Fletch had helped pave the way for millions as the new law was passed to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities and special needs.
He continued to thrive in the work-force until his disabilities started to slow him down more. After his mother passed away in 2006, his mental health was pushed to the limit, but with his brothers, his family, the army of Lakemary Center, and his own determination, he was able to persevere and live a very happy life. At this time, he started working more at the Lakemary Training Center in Olathe, KS doing various piece work, such as breaking down computers and electronic equipment. He continued to live in Olathe, KS while enjoying weekend getaways to spend time with his family. He always said he wanted to get back into what he called the “normal workforce” one day. The week before his passing, he accomplished that final goal as he had just started a part-time job working at Garmin in Olathe, KS.
In his spare time, Fletch loved putting together large-scale puzzles (such as a 3,000 piece Where’s Waldo Puzzle!), watching WWE Smackdown, gameshows such as Family Feud, cheering on local sports teams (Jayhawks, Chiefs, and Royals), and playing games with family while yelling “Got You Bad, Woo!” each time he beat someone!! Fletch lived life with a cherished smile and a broken filter. You never knew what he would say or do, but one thing was for sure—you couldn’t be in the room with him and not smile and/or laugh. He brought an incredible amount of joy to his family and everyone who knew him.
Fletch is survived by his father Fletcher Reynolds, step-father Larry Murphy, brothers Christopher Reynolds (Sheryl) and Michael Murphy (Sarah), sister Kelli Hoversten, aunt Eva Van Donge (Donald) nephews Kyle Reynolds (Bailey), Teegan Murphy & Parker Wilson, nieces Skie Pearson, Kelsey Johnson (Nash) & Hannah Wilson, great nephews Jordan, Jerad, Riley, Bear, Meadow & River, great nieces Charlotte & Violet, long-time girlfriend Brianne Haupt, and numerous “family” at Lakemary Center.
Fletch is preceded in death by his mother Christina Murphy and his niece Allisha Reynolds.
The family will receive guests for a visitation from 2:00-3:00pm on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home, 14275 S. Black Bob Rd., Olathe, KS 66062, a Celebration of Life will follow at 3pm. For those who attend, please feel free to wear your favorite music, band, or wrestling t-shirt to honor Fletch, who was never one to dress up anyway!
In lieu of flowers, the family would love to see Tribute Gifts in Honor of Fletcher Reynolds be given to Lakemary by clicking here.
We cannot say enough about this amazing organization and all they do for families with special needs. The family would also greatly appreciate hearing any stories you have to share about Fletch by clicking the “Share Memories” button above. One day, we plan to include all the great Fletch stories in a book about him!
Fletch's service will be livestreamed at the scheduled service time. Click here
to view the service.