Garrett J. Fitzgerald, S.J., former assistant dean in the Fordham College of Business Administration (CBA), died Sunday, Aug. 17 at Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx, N.Y. He was 87.
Father Fitzgerald was born on May 16, 1921 in New York City. He entered the Society of Jesus on Sept. 7, 1945 at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
He received his ordination in 1955 at Fordham’s University Church in a ceremony officiated by Francis Cardinal Spellman. After three years of study in Maryland, he arrived in the Bronx to teach English, Latin and religion at Fordham Prep.
Father Fitzgerald stayed there for 11 years before taking a year off to further his own studies. He then lived for seven years at a Jesuit mission in Micronesia.
He returned to Fordham in the fall of 1983 as assistant dean of CBA’s evening school at Rose Hill, where he taught a course on business ethics. He also served Fordham as general student advisor and director of internal communications and special programs.
“Garrett Fitzgerald contributed greatly to the intellectual and spiritual life of the University community,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “He had a unique gift for relating to people, whether students, faculty or staff. Many considered him a spiritual mentor and friend.”
One such person was Donna Rapaccioli, dean of CBA, who enjoyed discussing presentations given by Avery Cardinal Dulles with Father Fitzgerald. She said he could always be counted on to have copies of the speech, and be available to answer her questions.
“He wouldn’t make me feel silly about my lack of knowledge,” she said. “He had a way of making me feel comfortable asking questions.”
Father Fitzgerald briefly lent his coaching skills to Fordham’s golfing team in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said Steve Najdzionek, an assistant dean at CBA who worked with him for 20 years.
Additionally, Father Fitzgerald penned the official history of CBA and was a rich source of New York City history, an interest that stemmed from his growing up in the shadow of the Highbridge Water Tower along the Harlem River.
“He loved to talk about his childhood and his Irish heritage,” Najdzionek said.
Condolences can be sent to Father Fitzgerald’s sister:
Mrs. Dorothy Walsh
10 Warbler Lane
Commack, NY 11725