Francis James “Jim" “Fitty" Fitzgerald, 78, of Madison, SD passed away Wednesday October 7, 2020, at the Madison Regional Health System with his wife and family by his side, after a short battle with lung cancer. A Celebration of Life will be held Tuesday at 6:00 PM, with family present at 5:00, at the Ellsworth Funeral Home.
Jim was born October 16, 1941 in Montrose to Francis L and Helen L (Brand) Fitzgerald. He spent his childhood playing with his dog, helping his dad farm, and “babysitting” his two younger brothers. He attended grade school in Orland and high school in Madison, graduating in 1959. He enrolled in college, majoring in business while working odd jobs until being drafted during the Vietnam War into the army in 1964, serving 2 years before honorably discharged in 1966.
He went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business in 1971 from General Beadle State Teachers College. He had the degree that could have allowed him a cushy office job with a fancy title, but he preferred to be active and outdoors, so he took a position with East River Electric COOP as a land surveyor.
He met the love of his life, Barb Olson, in 1981 and fulfilled his dream of marriage to her on December 11 of 1982. He left East River COOP to take on a position with the Lake County Highway Department and retired in 2003. Realizing retirement wasn’t something he was ready for, he took a position as Property Maintenance with Prairieview Apartments. After five years he was ready to retire and enjoyed spending more time with his grandkids. In his free time he enjoyed volunteering with his wife as co-custodian for the United Methodist Church.
Jim’s favorite hobbies were hunting and fishing but his passion was teaching his grandkids how to hunt, fish, drive, and shoot.
Jim is survived by his loving wife Barb, daughter Sheila, and grandchildren Jaedon (Antonia Scott), Traevon, Jaxon, and Alexa. Brothers, Mike (Lorna) of Sioux Falls, and Mark (MaryBeth) of Wisconsin. Also survived by sisters-in-law, Cheryl (Dennis) Husman, Sandy (Mike) Devaney, Karen (Dan) Lembcke, all of Madison, Lori(Jeff) Peterson of Sioux Falls. Brothers-in-law Dennis Olson, Ron (Marlys) Olson, Rick(Beth) Olson, all of Madison, David Olson of Sioux Falls, and Troy (Chris) Olson of Missouri and several nieces and nephews. We also can’t forget his devoted pets, dogs Coco and Titan, and cat Kitty.
Preceding him death are his parents and two brothers in infancy.
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