Saint Albans – James Burton Fitzgerald (Jim) passed away unexpectedly, and after a short illness, on September 19, 2021.
James was born on August 13, 1939 to Garland and Phyllis Fitzgerald in Saint Albans, Vermont, and grew up in Sheldon and Saint Albans. Jim graduated from Bellows’ Free Academy in 1958. He married Esther Lareau Fitzgerald at Holy Angels Catholic Church in 1959 and attended Mass there until his passing. Esther predeceased Jim on May 15, 2021. They had two daughters – Lynn Fitzgerald and Kelly Gosselin who survive them.
Jim had a lifelong love for civic involvement, and was passionate about politics and the health of the nation. He began this passion while he was in high school where he was first elected Treasurer, then Vice President, and lastly President of the student council. His love for being involved with community, and political matters never left him. Immediately following high school Jim joined the Marine Corps – demonstrating his love of this country. Later he joined the Central Vermont Railway as a fireman, and worked other jobs simultaneously in order to support a young family. He left the railroad to work at IBM in the accounting department for several years, then joined Bellows Free Academy as the business manager, and ultimately returned to CVRR as Government Affairs Officer. James retired from the CVRR, but never stopped working. He served as Town Manager in Milton, Vt. for many years, and was appointed in an interim position as town manager in Saint Johnsbury and Saint Albans Town. More recently you could find him at the Georgia Rest Area in the capacity of greeter.
All through his various positions Jim found the time to volunteer in the community on various boards and committees such as the St. Albans City Council at the young age of 26, and later he served as Mayor in the same city, more recently he was volunteering with the Sheldon Historical Society. He was elected to the House of Representatives in the 1970’s, and then again in the early 2000’s. He had so many wonderful memories (and stories) of the times he served in the legislature. He made many wonderful friends whom he truly loved throughout his work career, and shared many stories that we will never forget, and already miss hearing. Jim loved the sport of baseball, and was a loyal Red Sox fan. He played baseball since he was a boy and went on to play for Bellows Free Academy (Massa’s Men), Legion Baseball (winning the championship) and in later years often volunteered his time to local teams – such as his granddaughters’ softball and basketball teams. One of his best memories was coaching and leading the BFA Comets to winning the much coveted championship with a team he spoke about forever. Jim also loved the game of golf, and often spoke of all the wonderful wildlife he would see on the course, and the great times he had playing with so many.
In addition to his daughters, Lynn and Kelly, Jim leaves his granddaughters Chelsea Lumbra (Anthony) and Molly Pike; and his great grandchildren Carabella and Colton Lumbra, and Lorelai Pike. Jim is also survived by step-grandchildren: Alayne and Mike Bruno (Austin and John), Tiffanie Towle (Sada and Jesse), Brye and David Trainer (Jason, Britini, Caitlin, Emma and Gracie), Ian Casperson (Mackenzie, Surelle)
Jim leaves his sisters and their families: Janice Bushey, Margaret (Peg) Moreau, and Linda Hobb; sisters in law: June Laroe, Loretta Lareau; and many nieces and nephews
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his son-in-law, Craig Casperson, his mother and father-in-law, Zeb and Pearl Lareau, his sister, Patricia Holland; his brothers in law James Holland, Carleton Bushey, Bernard Moreau, Ronald Lareau, Carleton Laroe, Stanley Laroe, and Raymond Cadieux and sisters-in-law Elizabeth Cadieux, and Gloria Laroe.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021, at 9:00 AM at Holy Angels Catholic Church, 245 Lake Street with the Reverend Father Christopher Micale as Celebrant. Prayers of committal and interment will follow in Mount Calvary Cemetery.
Jim’s family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Sheldon Historical Society, 200 Bridge Street, Sheldon, Vermont 05483 or St. Albans Little League, P.O. Box 104, St. Albans, Vermont 05478.
Assisting Jim’s family with his final wishes is the Heald Funeral Home, where messages of condolence are welcome at www.healdfuneralhome.com