Donald “Mike” Fitzgerald
Donald “Mike” F. Fitzgerald passed away peacefully to his heavenly home on February 28th, 2016 surrounded by his loving family in the log home he built with his own hands in the early 1950s.
He was born July 2, 1930, in Philadelphia, PA to parents Thomas Allen Fitzgerald and Naomi Powell Fitzgerald.
He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 68 years Doris Jane (Wastler) and nine children, Donna (and TJ) Demmon of Thurmont; Dennis (and Dianne) Fitzgerald of Huntsville, AL; Dawn (and Donald) Knox of Taneytown; Diane (and David) Stottlemyer of Thurmont; Debra Oster of Thurmont; Daniel (and Heather) Fitzgerald of Emmitsburg; David (and Bonny) Fitzgerald of Emmitsburg; Darrell Fitzgerald of Frederick, and Dean (and Cecilia) Fitzgerald of Frederick.
He was predeceased by his first son Douglas in 1949.
He is lovingly remembered by seventeen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren and predeceased by two grandsons. He leaves behind many dear friends including Mike Dwyer and Andy Chrusciel and hundreds of current and former employees of the Shamrock, also the Friday Lunch Bunch who met weekly at the Shamrock for several decades.
Donald was known as “Mike” all of his life, the nickname given him by his grandfather. He spent his early years in Emmitsburg, Maryland, with his parents and brothers Edward (dec.), Jerry (dec.), Joseph (dec.), and Tom, Berkeley Springs, WV. They were predeceased by younger brother Richard.
The five brothers spent several years together in an orphanage in Rock Hill, South Carolina, after the passing of their father in 1940. His mother Naomi passed away in 1977. From there Mike returned to Maryland and attended Thurmont High School where he met Doris Jane Wastler. He was the president of the Class of 1948. He and Doris and classmates still regularly gathered for lunch and memories.
After high school Mike worked at Price Electric, Frederick, then Landis Tool Company, Waynesboro PA where he trained as a machinist. His son David followed him to Landis thirty years later and discovered that Mike still maintained the highest scores ever achieved in their apprenticeship program.
Mike later moved to Moore’s Business Forms in Thurmont. In 1963 he and Doris faced the decision of continuing his career with Moore’s and moving the family to Niagara Falls, NY, or going into the restaurant business and remaining in hometown Thurmont. They chose to establish the Shamrock Restaurant fifty-three years ago.
Mike was the charter president of the Thurmont Jaycees under whose tenure the club established the Thurmont Community Park and donated it to the town. He was the charter president of the Thurmont Tourism Council and spearheaded the creation of Catoctin ColorFest. He was the charter president of the Thurmont Colt’s Corral Chapter 12. He partnered with his friend Vernon Myers to launch the Catoctin Youth Association.
Mike was the president of the Board of Directors of Frederick County Economic Community Development Commission for eight years. While leading ECDC, Ryan Homes (now NVR) built a plant in Thurmont.
In 1994 a long-time dream of Mike’s was fulfilled when he and friends and family raised an eighty-foot American flag in the yard at the Shamrock. This was a symbol of his strong patriotism and love for his country. He was a devout Catholic by faith and loved his church. He dedicated a stained glass window at St. Joseph’s Church in Emmitsburg to his family. As a child he served there as an altar boy.
The family will receive friends at the Stauffer Funeral Home, 104 East Main Street, Thurmont on Thursday, March 3rd from 6:00-9:00pm and on Friday, March 4th from 2:00-4:00pm and 7:00-9:00pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 5th at 11:00am at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 47 Depaul St., Emmitsburg, MD.
Interment will be in St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Mother Seton School, 100 Creamery Rd., Emmitsburg, MD 21727.