This obituary for Jack Fitzgerald was originally posted by Loveland Funeral Chapel in La Grande, Oregon.
John James “Jack” Fitzgerald, 83, of La Grande, passed away peacefully with his children by his side on Monday, October 9, 2017, at his residence. A Vigil and Rosary was held at Loveland Funeral Chapel on Friday, October 13, 2017, at 6:00 pm. A Memorial Service was held at Loveland Funeral Chapel on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at 2:00 pm.
Jack was born October 1, 1934, in Albion, Nebraska to Fred and Leona (Hoefer) Fitzgerald. He was the third of five children. During his childhood, Jack spent much of his time helping with the family welding business. Times were hard and he developed a strong work ethic at a very young age. His family regularly attended the Catholic Church and Jack remembered fondly how neighbors cared for and helped each other. Jack carried these attributes with him throughout his entire life.
After graduating from Albion High School in 1952, Jack moved to California with his cousin where he worked for Douglas Aircraft. He joined the Navy in 1955 and served 4 years in Japan as an aircraft mechanic.
Jack left the Navy and returned to California where he met and married Linda Davis in 1963. Jack and Linda had 3 children; John, Jackie, and Cheri before they were later divorced. Jack traveled throughout the country as a heavy equipment mechanic for the International Union Of Operating Engineers. He worked on many large projects such as the Alaska Pipeline and the Dworshak Dam near Orofino, Idaho. He was known for his amazing talents as a heavy equipment mechanic and had been referred to as “the best mechanic in the Northwest.” There was absolutely nothing he could not fix. He liked to repurpose and refurbish things, especially after his retirement.
Jack lived a simple life and liked to keep busy in his very well stocked and organized workshop. He built and fixed everything from toys to furniture, with a philosophy of buy only what you need, take care of the things you have, and help those in need. He also enjoyed reading, listening to jazz, and staying up to date on current events. Jack never missed a chance to spend time with his family, enjoying many family picnics, barbecues, and parties. Jack had a heart full of generosity which he shared with his family along with local charitable organizations.
Jack is survived by his son, John Fitzgerald of La Grande; daughters, Jackie Fitzgerald (Grant Burnell) and Cheri Fitzgerald-Scott (Dale) both of La Grande; brother, Pat Fitzgerald (Joan); 14 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Leona; brother, Bill Fitzgerald and sisters, Rosemary Quigley and Peg Dozler.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Ronald McDonald House, Attention Donations, 2620 N. Commercial Avenue, Portland, OR 97227.