Lifelong Norwalk native Brian Anthony Fitzgerald passed away quietly at his home on Saturday morning, August 7, 2010. Brian died at the age of 62 after a two and a half year battle with the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Brian is survived by Gay, his loving wife of 40 years; his five children, Mark, Kareyann, Melissa, Colleen, and John, and their spouses Christine, Matt, Juan, Jeremiah, and Stephanie. Brian had eight grandchildren, Brianna, James, Dan, Alyssa, Caroline, Katie, Caellum, and Makaleigh, and was one of seven children himself. Brian was born in Norwalk to Vera Daly and John Fitzgerald. He grew up in Norwalk with his brothers John, Eugene, Kevin, and Owen and with his sisters Dolores and Mary. He married Gay Arlene Lawson, also of Norwalk, on September 6th, 1969. If you lived in Norwalk, or any of the surrounding towns in the past 30 years, you knew Brian or a member of his family through work, school, or sports. If you had the privilege of actually knowing Brian, then you knew that his family and friends were the most important part of his life. He was involved in countless organizations in Fairfield County and was often the “man behind the scenes.” However, as private as he was, he was never afraid to stand up for what he believed in or to help those who could not stand up for themselves. Over the past two and a half years, Brian has had his story published in newspapers and has been honored by various companies and organizations around the county so you probably already know his story. He lived a wonderful life and affected so many people. He passed peacefully from this earth in the comfort of his own home with the close support of his friends and family. He wanted nothing more than for everyone to celebrate his life rather than mourn his death.
Mr. Fitz. Coach Fitz. Brian. Dad. Grandpa. These are just some of the names that he went by in his 62 years of giving and caring to everyone he met and everything in which he was involved. Growing up in Norwalk, going to Saint Mary's Catholic School, and going to Central Catholic High School, Brian was always involved in sports. From football, to basketball, to baseball, to golf, he always wanting to play, coach, or watch sports whenever he could. He was most involved with sports when it came to his own family. Brian coached both his sons in the Cranbury Baseball Program and also helped coach his sons and daughters at Saint Philip's Catholic School, Central Catholic High School, Norwalk High School, and Sacred Heart Academy. He also loved playing golf with his family at Silvermine Golf Club. Near the end of his wonderful life, Brian had the chance to see his grandchildren play and enjoy sports the way he did. There was no doubt that Brian believed that sports were an important part of his life, but that is not where Brian stopped. He always supported the community and the church.
As an accountant and member of the Connecticut Taxpayers Association, Brian helped several businesses and people alike solve their problems one tax return and one payroll at a time. While this may not seem like much, it was one of two additional jobs he did on top of his normal nine to five job in order to provide for his family. He also loved helping the people he worked with. His other secondary job was serving on the board of directors at Patriot National Bank from 2005 right up until the end of 2009. He is possibly most known for his work for the First District Water Department, first as a commissioner and then as a general manager. He eventually left the department to pursue other interests and found himself at Villa Maria in Stamford in 2001. He stayed with Villa Maria from December 2001 to December 2008. It is fitting that this was where he spent his last days working as he gave more to Villa Maria than anyone could have asked for. In return, he received the continued respect and appreciation that had so defined his life. A few of the other organizations that Brian contributed to over the years include: the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, the Catholic Club of Fairfield County, the Cranbury Community Chapel Association, the Laurel Athletic Club, the Norwalk Public School Mentor Program, Saint Mary's Church, Saint Phillip's Church, Saint Thomas' Church in Norwalk, and Saint Vincent de Paul. While not possible to fully understand who a person is or what he stood for by reading about him, there is no shortage of memories and stories about Brian. If you have never met Brian then just ask someone who knew him and you will see what so many people already know.
The most important part to remember about Brian is that he was an example of how to live life. He worked hard, loved with all his heart, enjoyed his family and friends, and, in the end, had no regrets about anything. I will end with this quote that exemplifies everything about our father Brian Fitzgerald.
“He didn''t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
Clarence Budington Kelland
There will be a mass for Brian at Saint Thomas Catholic Church in Norwalk on Tuesday at 3:00 PM, but there will be no wake per Brian's wishes. It is also Brian's request that family and friends do not send flowers. In lieu of flowers, Brian asks that family and friends donate to any of the following organizations: Central Catholic Alumni Scholarship Fund, Saint Vincent de Paul Society at Saint Thomas Catholic Church, or Villa Maria Education Center in Stamford. Following the mass at Saint Thomas, all are welcome to join the family to celebrate Brian at the Gaelic American Club, 74 Beach Road, Fairfield, CT 06824, at 4:30 PM. A private burial will be on a later date as arranged by the family.
Published in The Hour on Aug. 9, 2010.