HOLDERNESS - James Joseph FitzPatrick Jr., 95, of Holderness, died Oct. 26, 2012, ending an amazing life that spanned almost a century. Born Sept. 14, 1917, in Schenectady, N.Y., the eldest son of the late James J. and Helen (Roy) FitzPatrick Sr., his family moved to Marblehead, Mass., in 1920. He graduated from Marblehead High, class of 1936. Always pursuing his love of the outdoors and showing his tremendous strength of character at an early age, Jim achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts in 1935 and became a lifetime member of the NRA (National Rifle Association). He was also a member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps from 1935 to 1936. He attended the University Of Maine (Orono) from 1936-1940, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, as well as the ROTC "Scabbard + Blade" corps, graduating in 1940 with a B.A. in business administration. Jim also earned his pilot's license, learning to fly a Piper Cub aircraft. His lifelong passion for reading and books started at an early age, and the library that Jim and later Conna amassed was truly impressive.
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After graduation, Jim joined the U.S. Army in 1941, serving in the European Theater, and achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. During his wartime stay in England, he met Conner (Conna) Marie Mardis, the love of his life. They were married in England on Oct. 9, 1943. After the war, Jim and his new bride returned to Marblehead, Mass., and had two children, Johnnie and Sharon, but soon moved to East Weare, where they opened and managed the Toy Mfg. Co. until 1957, and had two more children, Peter and Maureen. Seeking more stability for the family, the FitzPatricks moved to Sudbury, Mass., in 1958, and Jim was employed as a military contract negotiator for the Raytheon Co., where his Army experience served him well. He retired from Raytheon in 1972 to pursue his love for the outdoors by relocating to Campton to manage the Branch Brook Campground. In 1974, Jim and Conna purchased Goose Hollow Campground in Thornton, and ran it until they retired to Sun City, Fla., in 1986.
They loved and nurtured each other in retirement for almost 24 years, until his beloved wife Conna died in March 2010. Jim then returned to his New Hampshire roots in 2010, moving in with his youngest daughter, Maureen and her husband, Charles Clifford, in Holderness. Even at 93, Jim was fiercely independent until a fall in 2011 curtailed his ability to move on his own. He spent his final year of his life at the Golden View Nursing home in Meredith, within sight of his treasured White Mountains and Lake Winnipesaukee.
The positive effect that Jim had on everyone's life he touched cannot be overstated. His quiet, confident manner and quick, dry wit endeared him to all, and was with him to the end.
Jim is survived by his son, John Paul, of Tavares, Fla.; daughter, Sharon Merrill Marino, of Winchester, Mass.; son, Peter James and his wife Wendy, of Lancaster, Mass.; and daughter, Maureen Helen and her husband, Charles Clifford, of Holderness; as well as grandsons, James Joseph FitzPatrick III, Mark Joseph Marino; granddaughter, Julia Elizabeth Marino; and sister-inlaw, Gloria FitzPatrick; as well as many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother John, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, in 2003.
SERVICES: A graveside service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. , in the Blair Cemetery (Blair Road), Campton. A reception will follow at the Country Cow Restaurant (Blair Road), Campton, following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim's memory may be made to the Appalachian Mountain Club, 5 Joy St., Boston, MA 02108 (www. outdoors.org/donations/).
Mayhew Funeral Homes & Crematorium of Meredith and Plymouth are handling the arrangements (www.mayhewfuneralhomes.com).
Mayhew Funeral Home
12 Landgon Street Plymouth, NH 03264
Published in Union Leader on Nov. 4, 2012