A “fairytale romance” and a loving father who was lost in the San Jose VTA shootout

Terra Fritch met her future husband, Alex Fritch, at the Country Saddle Rack Bar when she was in San Jose through mutual friends.



a man and woman seated at a table: Alex Fritch, 49, was a loving father and husband, dirt bike rider and tiki bar enthusiast whom his wife Terra Fritch said was


© Provided by Mercury News
Alex Fritch, 49, was a loving father and husband, dirt bike rider and tiki bar enthusiast who his wife Terra Fritch said was the “rock for this family”. He died in the shooting on the VTA light rail in San Jose on Wednesday. (Courtesy Terra Fritch)

“He noticed me, but I didn’t notice him,” said Terra. Nevertheless, after a couple of Fridays together in the bar, she asked him to dance because they bonded over their mutual love for dirt biking. He left without her number that day, but a few weeks later they had reconnected anyway.

“He and I both knew on our first date,” she said. “We didn’t want it to end”



a group of people who posed for the camera: Alex Fritch, 49, center, was a loving father and husband, a dirt bike rider and tiki bar enthusiast whom his wife Terra Fritch, second from left, called “a stone for this family


© Provided by Mercury News
Alex Fritch, 49, center, was a loving father and husband, a dirt bike and tiki bar enthusiast whom his wife Terra Fritch, second from left, described as “rock for this family”. He died in the shooting on the VTA light rail in San Jose on Wednesday. (Courtesy Terra Fritch)

That night they had their first kiss on Santa Cruz Beach. They married six months later. They were inseparable, Terra said, until the moment the nurses made room for her to lie in bed with her husband and hold him one last time in her arms when his heart stopped on Wednesday, killed in a mass shooting the VTA station where he had worked as a station manager.

Fifteen hours after his shooting, Alex Ward Fritch, 49, became the ninth victim in a tragedy that tore Tracy’s families apart through San Jose and Santa Cruz. Before that, he was a devoted father who supported Terra through multiple spinal surgeries, loved his three children, and worked overtime as the only financial services provider in his family. A GoFundMe was created to support the family.

He had a 30 year old daughter from a previous relationship and two sons aged 16 and 18 with Terra, one of whom is transgender.

“He stood right there next to him and loves him and supports him no matter what,” she said. “He was our rock for this family.”

He leaves a legacy that includes Fred and Ginger’s Exotic Cocktail Bar and Lounge, the Tiki Bar he built in their covered patio and named after a pair of decorative parrots they took with them while on vacation in Mexico, he told the Blog Tiki with Ray.

A mid-century design lover who dreamed of living in or even building an Eichler house, Alex enthusiastically went into the tiki bar community and even went to a tiki bar in Sacramento.

“He was the life of the party. Always there with a friendly joke, friendly word, or funny face when you take a selfie, ”wrote Kevin Crossman, a Tiki fan. “I finally found a friend with whom I could get involved in this rum and cocktail stuff. Now he is gone.”



a man standing next to a mountain: Alex Fritch, 49, was a loving father and husband, a dirt bike rider and tiki bar enthusiast whom his wife Terra Fritch said was the


© Provided by Mercury News
Alex Fritch, 49, was a loving father and husband, dirt bike rider and tiki bar enthusiast who his wife Terra Fritch said was the “rock for this family.” He died in the shooting on the VTA light rail in San Jose on Wednesday. (Courtesy Terra Fritch)

He’s gone and Terra is grappling with the futility of his death. They own guns, she said, but the owners should be responsible for how their guns are used. She and Alex discussed this many times.

“I’m tired of people saying something has to change and then doing nothing about it,” she said. “For the driver’s license we have to endure more rings than we need a weapon.”

Now all that remains is what he cannot do. His eldest son is graduating next week without his father. They went to Hawaii for the first time in September to renew their vows together after two decades. “He was trying to get in shape so he looked good in the pictures,” said Terra.

“We had something that people dream of, we had this fairytale relationship,” she said. “We were literally each other’s best friends and I don’t know how to move on, but I’ll take it second by second and always remind myself to breathe.”

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