Robert E. Fitzgerald, Sr. of Westerly, beloved husband of Louise A. (Liguore) Fitzgerald, passed away at The Westerly Hospital on Monday, August 27, 2018 at the age of 95.
Born in East Providence, RI, he was the youngest child of the late Richard J. and Julia (Hanley) Fitzgerald and last surviving brother to eight siblings: Mary Josephine Dod, Katherine Genvillis, John P. Fitzgerald, William B. Fitzgerald, Richard V. Fitzgerald and Gerald A. Fitzgerald. All were predeceased by Michael and Julia Fitzgerald.
Robert was a U.S. Army Veteran of World War II and served his country in the 10th Mountain Division, 86th Infantry Battalion. Trained as a ski trooper, he fought in Italy participating in battles such as the capture of Riva Ridge, and important victory for the Allies against Nazi Germany. Among other decorations for service, he received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal and Combat Infantry Badge.
Robert attended LaSalle Academy, Providence and graduated Rhode Island School of Design, Class of 1949, with a BFA in Illustration. He met Louise, his wife of 66 years, when she was a student at RISD and they made Westerly their lifelong home. He was employed for 38 years at Electric Boat, Groton, CT, retiring as a technical illustrator in 1991. Robert was a fine artist as well, and his oil paintings won awards from RISD and in shows such as the Westerly Art Festivals and Mystic Art Shows. He shared his love of the arts by teaching youth art classes and supporting his children’s pursuits of art and music. In addition to painting, illustrating and drawing cartoons, Robert sang beautifully and played the piano. He and Louise were active communicants of St. Pius X Catholic Church and members of the choir. He continued singing for his family into his last days, remembering the melodies of decades before.
We are grateful for his artistic and musical talents, his example as a Christian, his military service, his friendship and devotion to his family. We will miss his kindness, humor, charming smile and twinkling bright blue eyes. Robert had an inner life that shone like a light into others’ hearts. Besides his cherished wife, he is survived by six children and five grandchildren: Peter B. Fitzgerald of Westerly; Dorian L. Burton and her husband Mitchell and their sons, Ian and Jamie of Belcamp, MD; Robert E Fitzgerald, Jr. of Westerly; Barry J. Fitzgerald and his wife Pamela A. and their children, Connor and Erin of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA; Andrew Fitzgerald of Westerly; and Anne L. Fitzgerald and her husband Kenneth J. Rogers of New London, CT and her son Josef L. Castenholz of Cranston, RI. Robert is also survived by his sister-in-law Jill A. Panciera and her husband Kenneth of Bradford, RI; and many nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours are omitted. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Sept. 7 at 11am at St. Pius X Church, 45 Elm St., Westerly. Burial with Full Military Honors will follow at River Bend Cemetery, 117 Beach St., Westerly. Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce St., Westerly is overseeing the arrangements. In lieu of flowers donations may be made for our RI veterans at Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, 1010 Hartford Ave., Johnston, RI 02919, www.osdri.org, or to Hope Hospice at Hope Health, Attn: Philanthropy, 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904, in Robert’s memory. For online condolences please visit www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com