By Shelly Ingram
Thousands of people come to the Point Reyes National Seashore every year seeking to escape into a natural setting. Tod Fletcher, 62, and Susan Peabody, 66, of Petaluma did just that last weekend. But this was their final journey.
Their bodies were found by hikers near the Sky Camp trailhead parking area at approximately 9:30 on the morning of Tuesday, September 30. According to a close friend of Tod Fletcher the gun found at the scene was most likely his father’s World War II service revolver, but this has not been officially confirmed. A copy of Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma was left on Limantour Road. The hiker who discovered the pair had camped at Sky Camp overnight and recalled seeing the couple earlier the previous evening.
Jeff Stahl, a colleague and close friend of Fletcher’s since they met in Berkeley in 1987, told the Citizen that West Marin had long been a favorite hiking spot for Fletcher.
“I would go to visit him and go hiking and we would always go to West Marin,” said Stahl, recalling that there was a particular beach in the vicinity of Limantour that he enjoyed and visited frequently.
Fletcher wrote and mailed letters of explanation and farewell to three of his colleagues. A letter dated September 28 to Fred Burks, Fletcher’s colleague at the non-profit Public Education and Empowerment Resource Service (PEERS) explains the couple’s deaths simply and directly.
The first sentence of the letter reads:
“Susan has reached the point at which she requires release and as she can’t effect this herself, I must help her, as I promised her long ago I would do.”
Susan Peabody had suffered from a chronic illness for nearly three decades, and had previously attempted suicide. Still, the decision to take the final step seems to have been a sudden one precipitated by a recent extremely painful period.
“Dr. Griffin and I are devastated by this,” Canadian colleague Elizabeth Woodworth told the Citizen “We think it was as sudden crisis. He was still planning to work.” Fletcher had written to her twice on the 27th discussing the posting of an upcoming online review.
Stahl said he had spoken with Fletcher just a few days prior to the deaths and they had talked at length about the challenges the couple was facing.
“I saw him a few days before it happened and I thought he had decided against it,” Stahl said. “I thought they were going to get through this.”
Peabody and Fletcher met in graduate school at UC Berkeley and were married in 1980. They are both survived by siblings, but had no children. Peabody held a PhD in English Literature and Fletcher had a master’s degree in geography. Both pursued teaching careers until Peabody’s illness forced her to remain housebound and finally bedridden. Fletcher, eventually also gave up teaching and accepted work that would allow him to remain at home to care for her. They were extremely close and had made a pact that he would help her end her life if the pain became unbearable, Burks said.
Since 2005, Fletcher had worked closely with Dr. David Ray Griffin, currently a co-director of the Center for Process Studies and one of the foremost contemporary exponents of process theology. Fletcher worked as an editor on ten of the professor’s books and was his frequent representative on interview programs. The past few year he had been working as editor on Dr. Griffin’s forthcoming book, Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis, which is now in publication.
Fletcher was well known as a 9/11 truth activist. Since 2011, Fletcher had been a member of, and has contributed substantially to, the international 24-member 9/11 Consensus Panel, which offers 44 peer-reviewed Consensus Points opposing the official account of 9/11. The Panel derives its “best evidence” from a rigorous medicine-based review methodology, said colleague Elizabeth Woodworth.
Fletcher was born Thomas Christopher Fletcher in Alameda County February 27, 1952 but was known professionally as Tod Fletcher. He was an outstanding student who received both his bachelors and masters degrees in geography from UC Berkeley and had completed all but the dissertation for his PhD in the same subject. He was the author of Paiute, prospector, pioneer: The Bodie-Mono Lake area in the nineteenth century.
He wrote prolifically on a variety of subjects ranging including global ecology under his own name and several pseudonyms. Much of his work is posted on the www.wanttoknow.info and www.dailybattle.pair.com web pages.
But it was process philosophy that served as the basis for all his interests, Stahl said. “I would like to have him remembered for his work in process philosophy,” Stahl said.
A tribute to Tod Fletcher from a Davi RaY Griffen can be found at