William Taylor Fitzgerald
William Taylor Fitzgerald
October 23, 1923 - February 12, 2017
Fitzgerald, 93, of Beaumont, died peacefully at his home on February 12, 2017, surrounded
by his family.
He was born October 23, 1923, in
Laconia, NH and was a resident of Beaumont since 1951, when he was sought by
Dr. John Gray to join the faculty and teach Biology at the new 4-year Lamar
State College (now University). There, he assisted in the development of the
degree programs in Nursing and Medical Technology. He and his wife, Meredith, also
a Lamar professor, built lifelong friendships with many in the Lamar community.
They both retired in 1984, which for Mr. Fitzgerald was after thirty-three
years of teaching and influencing many of the area’s health care professionals.
Bill enlisted in the United
States Navy during World War II, where he met and married Meredith Berryhill, who
was serving in the Navy as a W.A.V.E. (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency
Service). After the war, he went on to graduate from Bethel College in
McKenzie, TN and then earned a graduate degree from George Peabody College of
Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. He later attended special sessions at
Oak Ridge, TN to study Radiation Biology. As a result of this training, he
acted as a Radiation Defense Officer for Jefferson County Civil Defense for
many years and was also a Reserve Officer in the U.S. Public Health Corps until
his retirement from teaching.
During summer vacations, the
Fitzgerald family enjoyed traveling and camping across the U.S. After
retirement, he and Meredith traveled extensively throughout the world. They
ultimately visited all 50 states, every country of Europe, and every continent
but one. They were avid “Airstreamers” for over 40 years, caravanning thousands
of miles with their friends of W.B.C.C.I (Wally Byam Airstream Club) and
serving on the Board of Directors of their local T.A.H.I. (Texas Airstream
Harbor, Inc.) unit in Zavalla, TX. He was also a model railroad enthusiast and
was recently recognized with a lifetime achievement honor in his Southeast
Texas Model Railroaders Club.
Preceding Mr. Fitzgerald in death
were his parents John F. Fitzgerald and Mabel Clarice Rowe Fitzgerald; his wife
of sixty-eight years, Meredith Kathryn Berryhill Fitzgerald; sister Elizabeth
McDermott and brothers John F. Fitzgerald, Jr. and Charles Fitzgerald; and
eldest daughter Susan Gaye Fincke.
Survivors include sisters
Patricia Deauville of Sebastian, FL and Mary Orton of Laconia, NH; son-in-law Dale
E. Fincke of Chocowinity, NC; daughters Pamela Carol and her husband Bill
Pearson of Kountze, TX; Nancy Ellen Fitzgerald and husband Randy Robinson of
Zavalla, TX; and Kathryn Ann and husband David Turner of Hunt, TX; six
grandchildren: Dale E. Fincke, Jr. and wife Jana of Amarillo, TX; Christopher S.
Fincke of Seoul, Korea; Amy L. and husband Corey Turner of New Braunfels, TX;
Stephen K. Baltz, Jr. of Loveland, CO; Thomas K. Baltz and fiancé Lily Schaffer
of Houston, TX; and Emily M. and husband J.B. Dunnam of Baytown, TX; and four great
grandchildren: Carla and Chris Fincke; Holden Turner; and Beau Dunnam.
The family graciously thanks Miss
Bessie Lomax for her years of kind service to both Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald.
A gathering of Mr. Fitzgerald’s
family and friends will begin at 1:00 p.m., with his funeral service at 2:00
p.m., Saturday, February 18, 2017, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.
His interment will follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont.
Memorial contributions can be
made, in lieu of flowers, to the “T.A.H.I. Can-Do Fund” at 215 Magnolia,
Zavalla, TX 75980 or to an organization of your choice.