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JoAnn Fitzpatrick

JoAnn Fitzpatrick Obituary
JoAnn Fitzpatrick of Jamaica Plain, a journalist who traveled the world and wrote editorials and columns for The Patriot Ledger of Quincy for more than three decades, died Monday morning, June 10, 2019, at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston from complications of lymphoma. She was 77. Born in Manchester, N.H., she was educated in Manchester Catholic schools. In 1963 she graduated from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in political science. She earned a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1980. After graduating from BU, Ms. Fitzpatrick worked as a photo intelligence analyst for the CIA, and then as a reporter for the Army Times in Frankfurt, Germany. While in her early 20s in Germany, she and a friend purchased a Mercedes with the intention of driving it through Eastern Europe and selling it in the middle east to finance more travels. Their journey was halted in Turkey by the onset of the Six-Day War, and then Ms. Fitzpatrick took ill and had to return to the U.S. before the friends could complete the plan. This was only the beginning of a lifetime of travel that would take Ms. Fitzpatrick back to Europe, to South America, South Africa, the Canadian Rockies, Vietnam and Cambodia. After returning to the U.S., Ms. Fitzpatrick covered Congress and the White House for Reuters. She focused on civil rights and poverty-related legislation, and would maintain a focus on such issues throughout her career as a reporter and commentator. She returned to New England via a reporting job with the Associated Press Boston bureau. From the early to the mid-1970s, she was executive assistant to Steven A. Minter, Commissioner of the Department of Public Welfare. She subsequently worked in Washington for the U.S. Department of Education, and returned again to Boston as director of public affairs for the Department of Mental Health, in the early 1980s. Ms. Fitzpatrick joined the Patriot Ledger in 1986 as associate editorial page editor and op-ed page editor. That same year, Ms. Fitzpatrick paid what she felt was far too much for a ticket to the World Series, which her beloved Boston Red Sox lost. The following year she purchased a season ticket package that she would maintain to the end of the 2018 season, enabling her and many friends and colleagues to attend numerous games at Fenway Park - including Derek Lowe's 2002 no-hitter and the clinching game of the 2013 World Series. In her editorials at the Patriot Ledger, Ms. Fitzpatrick advocated vociferously for good government and sound policy for the South Shore and beyond. She was particularly known for the grilling she gave to candidates for public office - local, state and national - who would come seeking the Patriot Ledger's endorsement. Ms. Fitzpatrick saw herself first and foremost as the representative of her readers in keeping government, business and other institutions honest. She was perhaps proudest of the work she did on the Greenbush commuter rail line that ultimately was built from Hingham to Boston. After retiring from the Patriot Ledger in 2007, Ms. Fitzpatrick maintained an active travel schedule and volunteered as a tutor in Boston public, charter and parochial schools. She delighted in her travel companions, the lives of her friends and younger cousins, and in continuing to write opinion columns for The Patriot Ledger and The Providence Journal. Born on Sept. 30, 1941, Ms. Fitzpatrick was the daughter of the late Alma Cummings and Fenwick Fitzpatrick. She was a parishioner of St. Cecelia Parish in Boston. She is survived by her loving Douglass cousins and many friends. Visitation will be held at St. Cecilia Parish on Friday, June 14, from 9 -10 a.m.
Published in The Patriot Ledger from June 12 to June 13, 2019
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