A state agricultural inspector, Fletcher acted instinctively to help Japanese American farmers. He quit his job and went to work saving farms belonging to the Nitta, Okamoto and Tsukamoto families in the Florin community near Sacramento.
Fletcher’s decision to help the Japanese families was met with resentment by several of the neighboring farmers, many of who hoped to capitalize on the misfortune by acquiring the Japanese farms. In the face of deep anti-Japanese sentiment — including a bullet fired into the Tsukamoto barn— Fletcher worked 90 acres of Flame Tokay grapes. He paid the mortgages and taxes and took half the profits. He turned over the rest— along with the farms— to the three families when they returned to Sacramento in 1945. “I did know a few of them pretty well and never agreed with the evacuation,” he told The Sacramento Bee in 2010. “They were the same as anybody else. It was obvious they had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor.”
Fletcher was honored for his service in later years, although he was quick to point out that other area residents had also come to the aid of Japanese neighbors. He did admit, according to the Sacramento Bee, that it had been “a devil of a lot of work!” He died in Sacramento, California, on May 23, 2013, aged 101.
“Few people in history exemplify the best ideals the way that Bob did,” said Tsukamoto’s daughter, Marielle, who was 5 when her family was interned. “He was honest and hardworking and had integrity. Whenever you asked him about it, he just said, ‘It was the right thing to do.’