Robert E. Fitzgerald Sr.

Robert E. Fitzgerald Sr., of Westerly, R.I., beloved husband of Louise A. (Liguore) Fitzgerald, passed away at The Westerly Hospital on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018 at the age of 95.

Born in East Providence, he was the youngest child of the late Richard J. and Julia (Hanley) Fitzgerald.

Robert was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and served in the 10th Mountain Division, 86th Infantry Battalion. Trained as a ski trooper, he fought in Italy, participating in battles such as the capture of Riva Ridge, an important victory for the Allies against Nazi Germany. Among other decorations for service to our country, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge.

Robert attended LaSalle Academy, Providence, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design in 1949. He met Louise, his wife of 66 years, when she was a student at RISD, and they made Westerly their lifelong home. He was employed for 38 years at Electric Boat, Groton, Conn., retiring as a technical illustrator in 1991.

Robert was a fine artist as well, and his oil paintings won awards from RISD and in shows such as the Westerly Art Festivals and Mystic Art Shows. He shared his love of the arts by teaching youth art classes and supporting his children's pursuits of art and music. In addition to painting, illustrating, and drawing cartoons, Robert sang beautifully and played the piano. He and Louise were active communicants of St. Pius X Catholic Church and members of the choir. He continued singing for his family into his last days, remembering the melodies of decades before.

Robert will be lovingly remembered for his artistic and musical talents, his example as a Christian, his military service, his friendship, and devotion to his family. Robert will be missed for his kindness, humor, charming smile, and twinkling bright blue eyes. He had an inner life that shone like a light into others' hearts.

Besides his cherished wife, Louise, Robert is survived by Peter, of Westerly; Dorian Burton, of Belcamp, Md., her husband, Mitchell, and their sons, Ian and Jamie; Robert Jr., of Westerly; Barry, his wife, Pamela, and their children, Connor and Erin, of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Andrew, of Westerly; and Anne Fitzgerald and husband, Kenneth Rogers, of New London, Conn., and her son, Josef Castenholz, of Cranston. Robert is survived by his sister-in-law, Jill Panciera and her husband, Kenneth, of Bradford; and many nieces and nephews. Robert was predeceased by eight siblings: Josephine Dod, Katherine Gendvilis, John, William, Richard, and Gerald, Michael, and Julia Fitzgerald.

Visiting hours are omitted. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, 45 Elm St., Westerly. Burial with Full Military Honors will follow at River Bend Cemetery, 117 Beach St., Westerly. Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce St., Westerly, is overseeing arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations in Robert's memory may be made for our R.I. veterans at Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, 1010 Hartford Ave., Johnston, RI 02919,; or to Hope Hospice at Hope Health, Attn: Philanthropy, 1085 N. Main St., Providence, RI 02904. For online condolences, please visit


Funeral Home

Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home
59 Spruce St. Westerly, RI 02891
(401) 596-2648

Published in The Westerly Sun on Sept. 2, 2018