Olin Fugit enjoyed being outdoors, searching for arrowheads

Saturday, May 24, 2014 | 8:48 p.m. CDT; updated 9:06 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 24, 2014

COLUMBIA — In creek beds, river bottoms and farmers' freshly plowed fields, Olin Fugit searched. He didn't find what he was looking for very often, but when he did, he shared his excitement with his family. His prize: authentic Native American arrowheads.

“It seemed like once a year he would find something he was proud of and bring it over to show the kids,” said Darin Fugit, his son. "It was his hobby."

Olin Fugit Jr. of Rocheport died Thursday, May 22, 2014. He was 71. 

He was born Nov. 10, 1942, in Fresno, Calif., to Olin Sr. and Anne (Hunt) Fugit. He married Phyllis Hoover in 1964.   

His search for arrowheads was not economically minded, but rather for his own recreation and education. Mr. Fugit often brought his discoveries to retired MU anthropology professor W. Raymond Wood to authenticate them, Darin Fugit said.

"Over the years, it was harder to find authentic arrowheads, instead of counterfeits," Darin Fugit said. 

In addition to looking outdoors, he said, Mr. Fugit also hunted for arrowheads at auctions.

"He just wanted to buy the real thing."

Mr. Fugit was also involved in a number of archaeological digs in Missouri, including one uncovering the former frontier outpost of Lexington, near Rocheport.

He graduated from Hickman High School in 1961 and went on to serve in the Missouri Army National Guard in the 175th MP. He was a union pipefitter, serving with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562.

Besides his interest in archaeology, Mr. Fugit had a variety of hobbies over the years, Darin Fugit said. He raised cattle and grew burley tobacco in southwest Boone County in the 1980s. In the early '80s, he became politically active, later serving on the Boone County Democratic Central Committee. Darin Fugit said his father loved to put up signs for political campaigns, and he would grill hot dogs at the local party's chili and hot dog supper.

Earlier, in his high school years, he helped his brother and father build a cabin on the Lake of the Ozarks.

"It was where he liked to go when he retired," Darin Fugit said. "He was always happy to go fishing with his grandkids, and take them out to look for arrowheads in creek beds."

He spent his last days there, more than 50 years after he helped build it.

"He liked to be outdoors," Darin Fugit said.

Mr. Fugit is survived by his wife, Phyllis Fugit; a son, Darin Fugit, and his wife, Angie; three grandchildren, Carter Fugit, Carlie Fugit, and Madison Cunningham, all of Columbia; and his brother, Alan, and his wife, Diane, of Captiva Island, Fla. 

His daughter-in-law, Jan Fugit, died earlier.

Visitation will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Parker Funeral Service and Crematory, 22 N. 10th St. Service will follow at 7 p.m. at the same location.

Memorial contributions can be made to Boone County Historical Society, 3801 Ponderosa St., Columbia, MO, 65201, or the University of Missouri Museum of Anthropology, 100 Swallow Hall, Columbia, MO, 65211.

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