Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2008
Robert M. “Bob” Fitzgerald, 88
Robert M. “Bob” Fitzgerald, 88, of Austin, formerly of Jackson and Wabasha, died on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008 at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.
He was born Dec. 2, 1919 in Wabasha, the son of Edward and Ann (Kohn) Fitzgerald. He attended St. Felix School in Wabasha and graduated from Savior of the Divine Word High School in Eppworth, Iowa. He then attended college in Erie, Pa. He served in the US Army during WW II, serving in the European and Middle Eastern campaigns. On Sept. 9, 1950 he married Catherine Rill at St. Johns’ Catholic Church in Winona. Bob worked for 43 years for Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, retiring in 1982. The family lived in St. Paul, Winona, Wabasha, Rochester, Jackson and Austin while he working for the telephone company. In 1983 he received his life insurance license and worked for seven years as a sales representative and sales manager for Purple Cross Insurance, a funeral insurance company. He and Catherine have lived in Austin for the past 31 years.
Bob was a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church in Austin and was active in the Cursillo Movement there. In his years spent in Wabasha in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Bob was an active volunteer for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, serving a term as president of its foundation. He was also a member of the Wabasha City Council and a member of the Wabasha Volunteer Fire Department. He was a member of the Wabasha VFW Post #4086. In his earlier years he was active also with the American Red Cross. He was a volunteer for the Telephone Pioneers. In Jackson, Bob was a member of the ambulance crew for the Jackson Raceway. He was a 40-year member of the Kiwanis Club and a member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. His interests included woodworking, fishing, and traveling, especially to Gulf Shores, Ala. His true pastime though was the game of golf. He enjoyed being a member of the Cedar River Golf Course in Adams and playing golf elsewhere with his friends. He especially loved his Irish heritage.
Bob is survived by his wife, Catherine Fitzgerald, Austin; daughters and sons-in-law, Patti (Michael) Ryan, Mount Sinai, N.Y., Mary (Stephen) Leach, Jackson, Minn., Carol (Dennis) Spathis, Rochester, Minn., Erin O’Keefe, Champlin, Minn.; four grandchildren, Garrett and Jillian Leach and Corey and Cody Ryan; sisters and brother-in-law, Mary (Bernard) Semler, Lake Forest, Ill., Margaret Musante, Redwood City, Calif.; nieces, nephews and cousins.
One brother, Edward, preceded him in death.
A funeral Mass will be offered on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008 at 11 a.m. at St. Felix Catholic Church in Wabasha with the Reverend Milo Ernster officiating. Interment will be in St. Felix Cemetery. The Burkhardt-Roemer VFW Post #4086 and the Wabasha American Legion Post #50 will perform military rites. Friends may call at the Abbott Funeral Home in Wabasha on Friday from 4 -7 p.m. where there will be a rosary service at 5pm and at the church on Saturday one hour before the service. Memorials are preferred to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center Foundation, 1200 5th Grant Blvd. W., Wabasha, MN 55981. Personal messages may be sent to the family at www.abbottfh.com. The Abbott Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.