Ellen M. Fitzgerald, 89, (née O’Connor) of Fairhaven, MA, formerly of Greenville, SC died, September 16, 2017 of complications from Alzheimer’s. Ellen grew up in Blakely, PA, the daughter of Sadie (née Furey) and Frank M. O’Connor. Following graduation from Marywood College, she worked as registrar for Georgetown Preparatory School. While living in D.C., she met, Gene Fitzgerald, her husband of 63 years with whom she raised seven children.
In 1975, she and Gene settled in Greenville, SC, making lifelong friends and serving the community. Ellen worked at Greenville Memorial Hospital, and volunteered at Meals on Wheels and The Greenville Free Medical Clinic.
In their yearbook, her Marywood College classmates described her as “lovely to look at, delightful to know…gentle of speech…beneficent mind…refined gaiety, Ellen.
And she never changed.
Through her Greenville parishes, Prince of Peace, and later, St. Anthony of Padua, she found friendship and communities focused on aiding those in need.
Ellen found a true partner in Gene, their closeness and trust grounding the family.
Though the family moved frequently, one thing remained constant: Ellen’s steady, nurturing presence. Her soft voice comforted, but could deliver disappointment as effectively as love. Tender, but strong. She shared her appreciation for the arts with her children and surrounded the family with books and books and more books. Ellen’s door was always open and she welcomed everyone to join the table. Her large extended Irish clan taught her the value of family, which she passed down to her children and grandchildren.
Ellen’s place was in the garden. She found peace in soil, roots, leaves and blossoms. She cared for her plants in much the same way she raised her children. Get them started, give plenty of room to spread, and adore them as they grow.
Giving you ‘the loves’ Mom, and one final tuck.
Survivors include her brothers, Rev. Frank O’Connor, S.J.; Jack O’Connor; and Tim O’Connor; children Tim, Gene (Anita Padilla-Fitzgerald), Maura (Craig Andrews), John, Ann (Michael Smarr), and Kate (Michael Sudofsky); grandchildren Meaghan Pieper, Ryan (Jamie) and Ellie Fitzgerald, Colleen, Patrick, and Brendan Andrews, and Alexei, Julian, Sofia, Natasha, and Mariana Sudofsky; and great-granddaughter Nella Fitzgerald.
She was predeceased by her husband Gene, and daughter, Ellen.
Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, November 6 at 10 am in St. Rita’s Church, Marion, MA.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Greenville Free Clinic may be made. PO Box 8993, Greenville, SC 29604 http://www.greenvillefreeclinic.org.
Arrangements are by the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Mattapoisett. For online condolence book, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.