October 1, 1957 – September 8, 2016
When John Fitzgerald died on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at the age of 58, heaven gained a memorable personality: actor, magician, entertainer – and a kind and generous man. John was born on October 1, 1957 in Toronto, where he grew up in a happy, boisterous Irish-Canadian household. Betty and Tony, John’s parents, instilled many virtues in their lively brood: pride in their Irish heritage, a strong commitment to family, love for their Catholic faith, and compassion for others. John was diagnosed with bladder cancer in June and although this summer was very difficult, his spirit remained strong and generous until the end.
John had a big-hearted, energetic and positive approach to life, and he made easy connections with others. Although he spent much of his working life in the printing business, John was most drawn to people. He was grateful for the fellowship and opportunities he enjoyed as a navy cadet, and for many years he mentored young people as an officer with the Navy League. John also had a keen interest in sports officiating and most recently, he umpired in Durham Region baseball leagues where he mixed calm authority with an engaging combination of bad jokes and magic tricks for the young athletes. For several years beginning in 2005, John was an occasional teacher for the DCDSB. Although he was not a “certified” teacher, John’s warmth and enthusiasm motivated and entertained his young charges. Drama was among John’s specialties in the classroom and outside, and he treasured his many friends in community theatre, mostly in Durham Region where he was always happy rehearsing, performing and kibitzing. Performance played a role in John’s work as a DJ too. Although John was an excellent curator of music and a well-organized professional, it was his genuine delight in the party, a desire to create a happy occasion and a brave willingness to interact with guests that made him hard to forget. Always with a magic trick or two in hand, John was often surrounded by children – and their parents. However, it was not simply John’s technique – it was the twinkle in his eye and big smile that drew the crowd.
John also loved his family dearly. His brother Michael’s too-early death in 1993 was a great sorrow. John was also predeceased by his father, Anthony Fitzgerald (Tony) in 2000 and his mother, Elizabeth (Betty) in November 2015. He is deeply missed by his beloved sister Jane Kaczor (Rick), brother Kevin (Heather), and Michael’s wife, Claudia. John grew up living next door to his Aunt Doreen and Uncle Patrick Doyle, and cousins Sheila and Brian. They, along with John’s other aunts, uncles and cousins, will grieve his passing. A family trip to Ireland in March was a joyful experience for John and he was thrilled to connect with the Fitzgerald and Green clans.
John’s mother-in-law, Mary Jane O’Reilly, will remember John lovingly as will his O’Reilly in-laws: Maggie, Michele Palmer (Paul), Beth Scullion (Steve), Michael (Kristin), Mary Teresa (Nadir), Mary Jane (Allan), Shawn (Loretti), and Susan (Jim). Mike O’Reilly, John’s father-in-law, predeceased John in 2013. John’s fun-loving nature enhanced every family gathering. His many nieces and nephews loved John’s magical nature and endearing goofiness too. John was a wonderful father to Rachel Hines (Dave) and Rebecca Hines (Christian), and he adored grandson Archer, his “boyo.” Almost twenty years ago, John enchanted his wife, Maureen O’Reilly. Often when Maureen told John that she loved him, he would respond with a ridiculous brogue, “Ah, sure, you’d be silly not to.” The many people who knew this special man will surely agree.
Visitation: Monday, September 12, 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m. McIntosh-Anderson-Kellam Funeral Home, 152 King Street East Oshawa (905.433.5558). Funeral Mass: Tuesday, September 13, 11:00 a.m. St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, 1100 Mary St N, Oshawa (reception to follow in the Church Hall).
Donations in memory of John made to Canadian Cancer Society or charity or your choice would be appreciated.
Online condolences may be made at makfuneralhome.com