Fred. D. Fletcher, a former Press Democrat reporter who earned union accolades for his leadership of the Newspaper Guild in the Bay Area, died Sunday at his Santa Rosa home.

He was 96.

A native-born San Franciscan, Fletcher was a graduate of UC Berkeley and served in the Army in the South Pacific in World War II, starting his journalism career with the Daily Olympian in Washington State.

He came to The Press Democrat in 1948, covering county government for a decade. He is generally credited with organizing the Guild unit that still exists at the Santa Rosa newspaper.

In the late 1950s, Fletcher joined the staff of the San Francisco-Oakland Newspaper Guild, becoming the chapter’s executive secretary and chief negotiator in 1962. He was known among his associates for his dedication to union causes, his precise work ethic and his leadership in the grim newspaper strike in San Francisco in 1968.

Upon retirement from the Guild in 1980, he and his wife, Helen Shane, realized a longtime dream, purchasing a 35-foot sailboat on which they spent two years in the South Pacific.

They left the sea for Sebastopol in 1986 and moved to Santa Rosa, to The Lodge at Paulin Creek, last year.

In addition to his wife, Fletcher is survived by daughter Elizabeth Fletcher Cook; son Clyde Fletcher; stepdaughters Dawn Walker and Claudia Holland, sister Barbara Fletcher Barbour; and seven grandchildren.

At his request, no services are planned.