George Patrick FITZGERALD Jr.

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FITZGERALD, Jr. George Patrick Dr. George Patrick Fitzgerald, Jr. departed this life on Monday, July 22, 2013. He passed peacefully in his sleep, his wife Irene asleep at his side. George was born November 15, 1916 in Springfield, Ohio, one of four children born to Dr. George Patrick and Ann Louise Fitzgerald. Young George, his brother Roger, and friends were allegedly known as the "Fitzgerald Gang," who reportedly enjoyed numerous hijinks together. George attended Catholic Central High School, Ohio State University and then the OSU College of Medicine. During his internship in Springfield, Ohio, he met a vivacious nurse, Irene "Renee" Rice. She had been warned about the "Fitzgerald Gang" and was determined to avoid him - until she looked into those sparkling blue eyes. The rest, as they say, is history. They were married within the year, in 1943. George served in the U.S. Army, 80th Division, 318th Infantry Regiment as 3rd Battalion Surgeon during 1943-45. He served in France and Germany, treating the wounded and even delivering a German woman's baby, earning the ETO Ribbon with 4 Battle Stars, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Medical Badge. He was very instrumental in convincing the army to move triage stations for wounded soldiers much closer to the front lines, which resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of casualties. He served in the Ohio National Guard from 1946-1949. George and Renee had four children. While George was stationed overseas, Kathleen was born in Columbus, Ohio. Upon his return to the States, the young family moved to Canton, Ohio for George's surgical training, where George Patrick III was born. The family settled in Springfield, Ohio where George was a member of the surgical staff at City and Mercy Hospitals, and tthen opened a surgical practice of his own. Daughter Michele was born in Springfield, followed by Brian Casey. Describing himself as "just a plumber for the human body," George practiced for 28 years in Ohio. He was president of the Clark County Medical Society in 1965 and Chief of Staff at Mercy Hospital in 1970. George had a lifelong love of sports cars, and travelled from Ohio to Sebring, Florida several times with buddies to see the Sebring road race. He and Renee also visited Florida several times, and decided to build a small home on undeveloped Marco Island in 1968. George accepted the position of Chief of Surgery at Bartow Hospital in 1970, and he, Renee and Casey moved to Florida for good. After serving in this capacity for a year, George semi-retired and they moved permanently to Marco Island. This would be home for the next 30 years. George resumed a part-time surgical practice with his colleagues back in Springfield, which also allowed him to spend time with his mother. He commuted back and forth to Marco for a number of years before his final retirement in 1978. Living on a canal that led to the Marco River and the Gulf of Mexico, George was never happier than when he was out fishing on his boat. It must be noted that due to his surgical skills, the fish were beautifully fileted. He and Renee also enjoyed golfing several times each week at the Country Club golf course, where he was the Judge of Voting. In 2001, the couple moved to a brand new condo in the Shell Point community in Ft. Myers, their home for 10 years. George, at age 91, began riding a 3-wheeled bicycle around the community grounds, a circuit of over 2 miles. For the next 4 years, he rode several times a week unless it was too windy or rainy. George and Renee moved from the condo to the Shell Point Larsen Pavilion in 2012. George is survived by his wife of 70 years, Irene; his four children and their spouses: Kathleen (Larry) Rich; George Patrick Fitzgerald, III; Michele (Steve) Kunk; and Casey (Pam) Fitzgerald; his 10 grandchildren and their spouses; and his 11 great-grandchildren. His son Patrick and grandson Brian followed him into the medical profession. George Patrick Fitzgerald, Jr. lived a full life, until finally his body wore out at the age of 96. He was the quiet, solid foundation of a large and loving family, and had a quick, dry wit, accompanied by a ready smile. He imparted his strong principles and values to his children, and thus to their children. He was unflappable in times of family crisis, especially those requiring the need for stitches. He was a lifelong devout Catholic, never missing Sunday mass unless he was sick. And he was a devoted husband, for seven decades, to his beloved wife, Irene. He leaves his extended family with almost a century of stories and memories, and a legacy of integrity, faith and commitment. Until we meet again, Dad.

Published in Springfield News-Sun on Aug. 4, 2013
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