Richard “Dick” Fitzgerald, 75, of Dell Rapids went home to the Lord due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease and Prostate cancer surrounded by those who loved him on June 2, 2019 at the Dells Nursing and Rehab Center.
Dick was born in Dell Rapids to Leo and Naomi (Lowder) Fitzgerald in 1944. He met his wife of 53 years, Mary Reecy in the first grade. Dick and Mary were married in Dell Rapids in January of 1966. She remained his best friend and was at his side to his last breath. After graduating from St Mary’s High School, he attended South Dakota State University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science.
He was active in 4-H as a young man, showing particular interest in showing cattle, hogs and sheep where he earned champion showman honors. He put the skills he learned to use years later as an adult 4-H leader when his children were able to participate.
Dick farmed his family homestead for several years but was better known for selling the best Christmas trees in the area for 35 years. He worked at Park’s Meat Locker and drove the bus for the Dell Rapids School District for many years and was a fixture at wrestling matches where everyone could hear him yelling for the wrestlers to “SQUEEZE!”. He eventually moved on from the locker and started working in the plant nursery industry. He loved this job because it gave him the chance to do two of his favorite things…talk with people and talk about plants and trees.
He loved being a thespian with the Old Opera House Players and was well known for his still unique singing voice, and his characterization of the villain in melodramas, perhaps because he was a little bit of a rebel himself when he was off stage. He was a fixture in the group of men who met every morning to solve the world’s problems and have some coffee together.
Anyone who knew Dick knows he loved the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. In fact, there were few days when he didn’t have on a Notre Dame hat, shirt, jacket, shoes or some combination of all three.
He was a man who didn’t let convention keep him from doing what he wanted to do. Rules were made to be bent, if not broken given the proper circumstances.
Dick is survived by his wife Mary; three sons: Bret and wife Ashleigh and their children Tristan, Keira, Gwenevere and Quinn-Killian of Triangle, VA; Scot and wife Rachel of Canton, SD; Dean and wife Jen and their children Kellen and Erin of Melbourne, FL; two daughters: Kathleen and husband Roscoe Taylor of Houston, TX and Bridget of Orlando, FL; his brother Jerry and wife Nettie Fitzgerald, Gehring, NE, and his sister-in-law Gail Fitzgerald, Colombia, MO.
His Memorial Mass was June 10, 2019 in St. Mary Catholic Church, Dell Rapids. www.kahlerfh.com.