John J. Fitzpatrick, 101 years young, formerly of Gloria Street, Pawtucket, died peacefully in the presence of his children on Sunday, Oct. 6, at Hattie Ide Chaffee Home, East Providence. He was the husband of the late Monica R. (Minko) Fitzpatrick, to whom he was married 62 years.
Affectionately called “Fitzy” by his family and friends, he was born on May 18, 1918, in County Cavan, Ireland, a son of the late Mary (Lynch) Fitzpatrick and Thomas Fitzpatrick. He was the youngest of nine children.
Fitzy came to America as a youngster and settled with his family in Pawtucket, a community he quickly embraced and revered throughout his life. He attended local schools, completing his education at Pawtucket Senior High School. He later entered the U.S. Army and served for four years during World War II. His Army service took him as far as Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. He was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.
After leaving the Army, Fitzy honorably served the Pawtucket Police Department for 26 years, retiring as a patrolman in 1973. He then worked in the private sector for more than a dozen years, before being asked to return to work for the City of Pawtucket at the Looff Carousel in Slater Park in 1989.
Running the carousel was not so much a job as it was a labor of love for Fitzy. His warmth and penchant for chatter delighted riders of all ages. He retired from service at the carousel after 20 years, at the age of 91.
Fitzy was a longtime member of the Fraternal Order of Police and a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He was a communicant of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus Church in Pawtucket.
Life was always about others to Fitzy. He loved spending time with family and friends, including his Gloria Street neighbors, and rarely turned down an offer to go out for a cup of coffee or to take a ride around Pawtucket.
Besides Slater Park, he enjoyed watching the horse races and seeing the people and commotion at Narragansett Park. Any visit to McCoy Stadium to watch his beloved Pawtucket Red Sox was anticipated with the enthusiasm of a youngster attending his or her first professional game. No visit to McCoy was complete without a beer and a cheeseburger.
Away from McCoy, Fitzy remained a loyal follower of Boston’s pro sports teams, notably the Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins, and he always looked forward to watching the PC and URI basketball teams on TV.
In many ways, he was the “perfect Irish gentleman” — humble, kind, polite, brave, loyal, and hilarious.
Fitzy is survived by his four children, Maureen Fitzpatrick-Joyce and her husband, Charlie, of Seekonk, Mass., Ann Corry (Jim) of Seekonk, Mary Fitzpatrick (Keith) of Richmond, R.I., and Jon Fitzpatrick of Boston; five grandchildren, Allison, Erin, Ryan, Caroline, and Neil; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his siblings Catherine, Susan, Margaret, twins Beatrice and Ellen, Thomas, Eugene, and Molly.
His family would like to thank the staffs of Hattie Ide Chaffee Home and Home & Hospice Care of R.I. (HopeHealth) for their compassion and support in caring for Fitz, as well as extend gratitude to Rev. David Green, pastor of St. Martha Church, East Providence, and Rev. David Thurber, pastor of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus Church, Pawtucket, for their ministerial support.
The funeral for Fitzy will be Friday at 9:00 am from the Manning-Heffern Funeral Home, 68 Broadway, Pawtucket. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Teresa's Church, 358 Newport Avenue, Pawtucket at 10:00 am. His burial will be with full Military Honors in Mt. St. Mary's Cemetery, Pawtucket. His calling hours will be Thursday from 4-7 in the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in his memory may be made to St. Teresa Church or a charity of your choice.
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