Jane P. Fitzpatrick
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STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. - Jane Pratt Fitzpatrick, founder of Country Curtains and long-time owner of The Red Lion Inn, died peacefully at her home on Prospect Hill in Stockbridge, on November 9, 2013, ten days short of her 90th birthday.

She was born November 18, 1923, in Shrewsbury, Vermont, the daughter of Mary Townsend Pratt and Mayflower descendant, Carl Arthur Pratt. Hers was the last of several generations born on the Pratt family farm, a heritage that resonated proudly throughout her life.

She attended a one-room schoolhouse for eight years and was the sole member of her class for seven of those years. Jane flourished at Rutland High School, where she met her future husband, John H. Fitzpatrick. Their first date was on her 15th birthday.

Her competence and leadership abilities were evident early. She was the president of her senior class and at graduation she was elected "Most Likely to Succeed," as well as "Most Attractive."

She opted not to go to college and plunged into the workplace. Supporting herself from the age of 17, she soon became department supervisor of an Army Navy supply depot in Hartford, Connecticut.

She and Jack Fitzpatrick were married September 7, 1944, at the Little Church Around the Corner in New York City. Shortly after, Jack departed for a 20-month tour in Germany with the 102nd Infantry Division. After his return, they lived in Middlebury, Vermont, and Brighton, Massachusetts, as Jack completed his education. Four moves later, the couple and their two daughters settled in Stockbridge, when Jack became manager of the Lincoln Stores in Pittsfield.

They moved into a large house on Main Street in November 1957, bringing with them their fledging home business, Country Curtains. Started two years prior in Whitman, MA, Jane handled every aspect of the mail order business, from opening the mail to wrapping packages and drawing ad illustrations. In Stockbridge, the tiny enterprise moved out of Jane's dining room into its own one-room quarters.

Soon after their arrival, the couple threw themselves into town activities and started a ski program for school children. In 1960, leaving a growing Country Curtains in the hands of Jane's sister, Zoa, the family went to Europe for a year. While their daughters were in school in Switzerland, Jane and Jack criss-crossed the continent, giving Jane lots of ideas for curtains as well as hotel guest experiences that she would later put to good use. Back in the Berkshires, the robust growth of Country Curtains enabled them to pursue their business full-time.

In late 1968, they purchased the shuttered, seasonal Red Lion Inn, opening its doors year-round and making it the new home of Country Curtains. In 1980, they purchased Blantyre in Lenox, and transformed the former Berkshire cottage into an intimate country house resort that is on most lists of top lodging properties in the U.S. Jane's eye for detail, her quest for excellence and her intuitive leadership style inspired admiration and respect. A formidable boss, "Mrs. Fitz" (as she was known to her employees) was as generous as she was demanding.

Jane became very active with local arts organizations in the 1970s and beyond. She was determined to save the struggling Berkshire Theatre Festival. Her passion and grit were instrumental in making that happen. She was the BTF board chair for 22 years, and until her death, topped its masthead as honorary chair. She began a long tenure with Tanglewood and the Boston Symphony as Overseer, Trustee and Life Trustee. She served on the Buildings and Grounds Committee during the planning and construction of Ozawa Hall, and formed a close friendship with Seiji Ozawa, who called her mama-san.

The Norman Rockwell Museum counts Fitzpatrick as one of its founding board members and lead donors. She and Jack were not only friends of Norman Rockwell but models and later, collectors.

The Fitzpatrick name can be found on walls from the Berkshire Botanical Garden to Berkshire Country Day School, The Colonial Theatre and MASS MoCA, to name a few. Other boards she served include the Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the Austen Riggs Center. Through the High Meadow Foundation, their businesses and personally, Jane and Jack made leadership philanthropic investments in the Berkshires' cultural life. ­

The Fitzpatricks loved to travel. Jane and her sisters, Zoa and Mary Ann, took an annual bus tour for many years. She and Jack enjoyed repeated trips to Europe, several on tour with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Later, Lismore in Ireland became a cherished destination. While most of her time was occupied by business and community endeavors, Jane loved to shop for antiques and was a welcome regular at Berkshire auctions. She was also an avid reader, and had been looking forward to being Honorary Chair of the Stockbridge Library's upcoming capital campaign.

She was awarded four honorary doctorates, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, North Adams State College (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts), American International College and Westfield State College. Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick were leaders in Republican politics. Jane was a force in Jack's campaigns for Massachusetts State Senator. It has been said that when Jack decided to run, Jane decided to win. And he did, serving the First District in the State Senate from 1973 to 1980. They enjoyed attending several White House receptions for Republican donors.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick served on the Massachusetts Cultural Council and was the recipient of its first Commonwealth Award in 1993, honoring her as a patron of the arts and humanities. From 1998 to 2001, she was recognized in Working Woman magazine as CEO and Chair of one of the top 500 women-owned companies in the U.S. Among many awards she and Jack received together was the 1997 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for New England. In August 2010, Stockbridge celebrated Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick Day and dedicated the green next to The Red Lion Inn in their honor. She remained Chairman of Country Curtains until her death, taking great pride in its successful catalog, website and 26 stores.

In spite of declining health, she remained full of sparkle and joie de vivre. She was often seen at The Red Lion Inn, where she enjoyed chatting with guests, friends and neighbors. With her snow-white hair, striking blue eyes and pink sweaters, it was not unusual for a total stranger to be struck by her beauty - and tell her. In recent years she became known for an upbeat toast of unknown origin:Here's to it and to it again,

If you ever get to it to do it and don't do it,

You'll never get to it to do it again.Her husband of 66 years died on July 23, 2011. She leaves behind an adoring and grateful family: her sister, Mary Ann Snyder of Largo FL, two daughters, Nancy Jane Fitzpatrick (and husband Lincoln Russell) and Ann Fitzpatrick Brown, both of Stockbridge; two grandsons, Casey Meade Rothstein-Fitzpatrick and Alexander John Fitzpatrick Brown, and three step-grandchildren, Sarah Elsom Eustis (husband Timothy and sons, Henry and Frederick), Michael O'Shea Rothstein and Morgan Harpin Russell. Aunt Jane loved and was loved by her 14 nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her brother, Carl A. Pratt Jr. and her sister, Zoa Pratt Campetti.

Burial will be private for the immediate family. The memorial service will take place on November 18, her 90th birthday, at 11 a.m. at The First Congregational Church in Stockbridge. A reception will follow the service at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Stockbridge Library, P.O. Box 119, or The First Congregational Church, Box 825, Stockbridge MA 01262.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Rutland Herald on Nov. 14, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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29 entries
February 5, 2014
We are so grateful for all you have donated to the Boston symphony orchestra. I think you were on the board when Abe Collier was Chair of the trustees. You are a legend in our lives..thank you Jane..JudithCollier
January 11, 2014
Dear Ann and Nancy,
I was so sorry to read of your Mother's passing. My sister, daughter, and I have purchased curtains through the years. I have so enjoyed Jane's family updates. She was a truly remarkable person. I hope you will continue with the updates on the family and your endeavors.
Carolyn Weatherhead
January 3, 2014
Dear Ann, Nancy, and family,
I just received my mailed and read that your Mother had passed. I am sorry to hear of her death. Wherever I lived, throughout the U.S., it always looked forward to receiving my Country Curtains catalog and feeling I was back home in MA. May your Mother rest in peace.
Beth McTighe-Nichols
December 31, 2013
Dear Ann, Nancy and family,
God bless you. Your Mom was loved by many who knew her through the Country Curtains catalogue. She will be remembered and missed.
Doree Hoit
December 29, 2013
Dear Ann and Nancy,

My deepest condolences on the passing of your mother.
Years ago, I wrote your mother a note telling her about my first home, and how excited I was waiting for my Country Curtains to arrive. To my surprise, I received a handwritten response from her, thanking me for being a loyal customer, and congratulating me on my new (actually "old") home! I was so touched that your mother took the time out of her busy schedule to do that for me.
On November 7th, 2013, my mother passed away at age 85. She and I both loved Country Curtains. When she died, her Country Curtains were still hanging in the windows of her townhouse, truly a testament to their quality and beauty.

May God comfort you and your family during this sad time. Jane will be missed.
Susan Protich
November 25, 2013
When Jack and Jane bought the Red Lion Inn, I purchased the Williams and Son's Country Store Jane would come in and browse and encourage me to press on. Their first year of operation we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner at the Inn, which was one of our families best ever. Thanks to Jane's input and concern we celebrated Mom and Dad's 35th wedding anniversary also at the Inn. Good bye lovely lady. May you rest in peace.

George C. Rauscher
Belleair FL
November 19, 2013
Dear Nancy and Ann,
wasn't Stockbridge a lucky town to be found by your mom and dad and i know the Brundage family will always be grateful for the friendship of your family[my mom's most favorite memories included those trips to NYC with Mrs. Modolo shoppping for the Pink Kitty]
She was one of a kind and i was honored to know her...love and condolences,patti
November 18, 2013
My prayers and condolences Go out to Ms. Fitzpatrick's family and friends. I know my mother had a very strong connection with Ms. Fitzpatrick. R.I.P.
Jimmy Jay Chassi
November 18, 2013
Dear Nancy. Mike and I send our deepest condolences. We are sorry we can't attend the Memorial Service, we are in Boston, but know that our thoughts are with you and your family.. Sending you much love and admiration , Annette and Michael Miller
Annette & Michael Miller
November 17, 2013


Dear Nancy, So sorry for your loss. I will never forget the lovely thoughts you shared with me about your mother when you visited Shady Oaks & our Tree house this past summer. It was endearing and unforgettable.
Mary C. Gift
November 16, 2013
Ann and Nancy

Please accept our condolences for the loss of your mother.

Jerry and Barbara Saunders
Jerry Saunders
November 16, 2013
I met Mrs. Fitzpatrick one day through a good friend of hers, Jane Harte.I never forgot her sparkling eyes and the joy she expressed when I met her. I had heard so much about Mrs. Fitzpatrick from Jane Harte and the wonderful times they shared over the years.I believe a favorite was when Mrs.Fitzpatrick invited the Hartes to the castle in Ireland.A wonderful lady.
Barbara Machain
November 14, 2013
My prayers are with Jane's daughters. Their mom was a special lady
dee tucker
November 14, 2013
Jane-you were the one person who could roll up your sleeves and get the job done, while appearing gracious and calm. Every time. No one else ever matched those talents. Your amazing insight and hard work made your home--the entire Berkshire community--unique. You touched us all-we are better for knowing you and are indebted for that privilege.
Joel and jackie Holt
November 14, 2013
Nancy and Family,

We are so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.

The Faculty and Staff of Miss Hall's School
November 14, 2013
Chris and Carol Struble, and Molly the girl dog.
We are so sorry for the loss of your mother, grandmother. We traveled back your way many times, with my dear mother. She loved loved County Curtains. My mother would love when the new catalog would come. My mother, and myself ordered many curtains from Country Curtains. My most beautiful mother passed away, over two years ago. I know the pain and loss that you are feeling for your mother/grandmother. May your mother/grandmother's spirit give you peace, where ever your travels take you in life, as she will right beside you always. Your mother/grandmother is in the peaceful arms of god now. Her spirit will know only happiness, and contentment. May god grant your family peace.
Carol Struble
November 13, 2013
Dear Nancy and Ann-

There's a new star shining in the Heavens. Your mother was an exemplary individual who will be truly missed by everyone she met. We are thankful to be among those whom she touched over the years. God bless you all!
Sharon and Bill Semanie
November 12, 2013
Thanks Jane for all you and Jack did for this wonderful community, your work and dedication will be long cherished and remembered.
Jonathan Rick
November 12, 2013
Dear Ann, Nancy and family,
The loss of your mother creats a void that will never be filled. How I loved working with your her years ago and the the visits each year we had with both your mom and dad.
An era has ended but our love and admiration will go on and on.
My love and sympathy to you all.
Joe
Joe Hobbs
November 12, 2013
Every time I look at my French door panels with the scallop shells and starfish I thank Country Curtains for having offered such a beautiful item. And now I learn what a beautiful lady your Mother was.
And my parents were also married at the Little Church Around the Corner, but four years earlier.
My thoughts are with you.
Sondra Limeburner
November 12, 2013
Prayers to Mrs. Jane's Family- Mr. and Mrs Fitzpatrick were very wonderful to work for at Country Curtains and they have been wonderful to my son EJ Abbott! May they both Dance in Heaven Now!
anna pellegrini
November 12, 2013
My thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzpatricks. What a loss!
A former RLI employee.
November 12, 2013
Nancy:

I are so sorry to hear about your Mom. When I was at the Red Lion in September I looked for your Mom in the dining room but she wasn't there that day. I have fond memories of my time with you and your family in the Fitzpatrick home in Stockbridge. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Kathy (Elliott) Munson
November 12, 2013
I only met Jane once, and she was a lovely lady. I admire her accomplishments in life and strive to be like her.
November 12, 2013
Dear Ann and Nancy: I was so sad to read of your mom's passing this morning. So many memories and so much loss. Please know that you are in my prayers at this time. With a very heavy heart .... Joni Vincent
November 12, 2013
Our hearts and prayers are with the family!
Dennis & Sylvia Gargan
November 12, 2013
Dear Nancy, Ann and family,
I am so sorry to read of the death of Mrs. Fitz. She and all of your family have always been wonderful to me and mine, and I will be eternally grateful for that. Jane's elegance, grace, style and generosity will be sadly missed in this world where those qualities are so lacking. I wish I could be at the service, but know that I will be there in spirit. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time.
Love,
Patty Vincent
Patty Vincent
November 12, 2013
Prayers for the family members of Jane Pratt Fitzpatrick at this time of deep loss.
Ruth and Sylvia Fenn
November 12, 2013
Jane, dear friend for 50 years, bonded forever.
Joan & Will Lewis
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