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  • "I have been unable to visit Kathleen for several weeks,..."
    - Sherrie Cornia
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Service Information
Prosser Funeral Home & Crematory
1220 Sheridan Avenue
Prosser, WA

KATHLEEN MARY FITZGERALD Prosser Funeral Home & Crematory Kathleen Mary Fitzgerald, 78, of Prosser, died October 23 at Tranquility Haven in Kennewick. She was born to Cornelius and Bridget Kelleher at the family home at Lisheen Cross in County Kerry, Ireland on July 19, 1938. She was the tenth of eleven surviving children born to the Kellehers. She was born into a family of traditional Irish musicians and her love for the music of Sliabh Luachra is something that she nurtured throughout her life. After emigrating to New York City in 1958 she met and fell in love with Gerald Fitzgerald, a young man who grew up on a dairy farm just 6 miles from her family home back in Ireland. It took the Big Apple to bring them together. They married in Queens, New York on September 9, 1961. Together they had four children: Mary Ann, Gerald Daniel, Kathleen Bridget, and William (Liam) John. In 1976, the family moved from Peekskill, NY to Prosser where Gerald began work as a pipefitter for the construction of what is now the Columbia Generating Station located on the Hanford Site. When the family stopped at the view point on the Horse Heaven Hills overlooking Prosser and the Yakima Valley after their 3000 mile journey from New York, Gerald exclaimed with pride, "We're home!" Kathleen and the kids asked with great dismay, "Dad, where are the evergreens?" There was a little culture shock adjusting to life in a very small town in the middle of eastern Washington but little did we all know how quickly Kathleen would grow to love her adopted state, town, and community. While raising her four kids, Kathleen began taking classes and was a proud graduate of Yakima Valley Community College with a nursing degree. She then began her career in earnest as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She worked for thirty years at the Prosser Memorial Hospital finally retiring at the age of 72. If you were born in Prosser between 1982 and 2012 there is a very good chance that Kathleen was there smacking your little baby behind and welcoming you with joy into the world. She loved her work because of the people and her coworkers and patients loved her because her work was not just a job but her true calling. She treated her patients like gold and very often they would stop her in the grocery store to thank her for the care she provided to them or their family menber during their stay in the Prosser Hospital. Kathleen loved to travel with her sisters, kids, and friends and she had more stamps in her passport than her son Liam who enabled her travel bug with his career as a commercial airline pilot. Her favorite destination was the Emerald Isle, of course, and she traveled back "home" often. Above all, her most proud and happy role was that of Grandmother to Daniel and Abby Fitzgerald; Brendan Beckwith; and Payton, Anthony, Avery, and Andrew Galioto. She was never happier than when she had one or more of her grandchildren in her arms or around her kitchen table. Kathleen leaves behind Gerald, her devoted husband of 55 years, her four adoring children and their spouses (Bert de Jong, Dawn Fitzgerald, Thomas Galioto, and Cami Fitzgerald), her seven grandchildren, and her older sister, Nora Gilroy, of Long Island, New York. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews that reside in New York and the surrounding area, Ireland, and England. Kathleen was a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Prosser for the last 40 years and funeral services will be held at Sacred Heart on Saturday, October 29, at 11:00 AM with a luncheon to follow. A recitation of the Holy Rosary will be held on Friday, October 28 at 6:00 PM at the Prosser Funeral Home followed by time for remembrance with her family. All who wish to pay their respects to Kathleen are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Kathleen's memory to the Heartlinks Hospice at heartlinkshospice.org or other charity or cause of your choice. You may leave a message for the family at www.Prosserfuneral home.com The family would like to take this time to thank some very special angels that came into our Mom's life during her long-term illness. First, we would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Bernadette, Kelly, and Chris McBride, and all of the staff at Tranquility Haven in Kennewick for the kind and compassionate care and friendship they provided to our Mom and her family since she moved there in July, 2015. We would also like to express our sincere thank you to Chaplain Craig Timmons and Social Worker Heather Rader of the Chaplaincy Hospice for the spiritual and emotional support, friendship and laughs they brought to my Mom; Ethel Knopp, our Mom's massage therapist and adoring friend who provided gentle and compassionate care for our Mom on a regular basis and without fail; and finally, our many thanks to the staff of the Heartlinks Hospice, including a heartfelt thank you to nurses, Monica and Angela, and hospice aid, Veronica, for the considerate and tender care, comfort and empathy they provided to our Mom, along with friendship, during the last several months of her illness. We owe you all a debt of gratitude that cannot be repaid but we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Published in Tri-City Herald on Oct. 25, 2016
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