Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Chantrey Alfred Fritts (1904-1971)

Chantrey A. Fritts as he appeared in Denver Post, 1951.

  The Colorado legislature yields another much needed odd name in the person of Chantrey Alfred Fritts, who is notable for being the first state legislator profiled here who was a chiropodist (or, to be more precise, a foot and hand doctor.) While his name may be unusual and his profession unique, it is Fritts' terms in the state house of representatives that garners him a place here, as well as his brief service in the state senate, being appointed to that body to fill a vacancy. A native of Belle, Missouri, Chantrey Alfred Fritts was born in 1904, one of two sons born to Charles Oscar (1869-1966) and Emma (Travis) Fritts (1870-1955).
  Little is known of Fritts' early life and education in Missouri, and after deciding on a career in the medical profession enrolled at the University of Colorado, and following graduation undertook further study at the University of Denver's Podiatry School. Sources also relate Fritts briefly being a school teacher in the Oak Creek school from 1926-27. In February 1926 Fritts married in Denver to Edna Violet Smith (1906-1985), to whom he was wed for over four decades. The couple would have two children, Chantrey Alfred Jr. (1931-2016, later a professor at Abilene Christian University) and an adopted daughter, Nancy Fritts Vourexes (1941-1995). 
  After the completion of his schooling, Chantrey Fritts operated a "private podiatry practice" and was also connected to the Ft. Logan Hospital and the Denver General Hospital. From 1938-39 he held the presidency of the Colorado Association of Chiropodists and was also a longstanding member of the Colorado Podiatry Association.
   Fritts entered the political life of his state in 1942 when he was elected as one of Denver County's representatives to the Colorado legislature, polling over 50,000 votes on election day. Fritts' first term (1943-45) saw him chair the committees on Medical Affairs and Public Health, as well as the committee on Penal and Reformatory Institutions. He would win a second term in 1944 and during the 1945-46 session sat on the committees on Appropriations and Expenditures; Denver City Affairs; Education; Elections and Appointments; and State Institutions.
  The 1946 election year saw Chantrey Fritts be appointed to the Colorado State Senate, due to a vacancy brought about by the resignation of Eudochia Bell Smith, who had served since 1941. Fritts' brief time in the Senate (which extended from December 1946 to December 1948) saw him chair the committee on Reapportionment, as well as serving on the committees on Medical Affairs, Military Affairs, Printing, Privileges and Elections, and Supplies and Expenditures.
  After leaving the Senate in 1948 Fritts returned to his medical practice, and in 1956 was again elected to fill a vacancy, this time in the state house of representatives. With representative Paul Hodges Jr. resigning his seat that year, Fritts was tapped to fill the vacancy and during his brief time in office was a member of the House Services, Judiciary and State Affairs Committees.
  Little information exists on Fritts' life after leaving the legislature, excepting notice of his being a speaker at the 58th annual meeting of the American Podiatrist Association in 1970, where he spoke on "reactions to foot disorders that can contribute to mental depression." Chantrey Alfred Fritts died on June 21, 1971, in Colorado and was survived by his wife and children. Both he and his wife were interred at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

From the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, June 23, 1971.

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