Lexington, Mass./North Sydney
Mary Catherine (Quirk) Fitzgerald, 91, of Lexington, Mass., died peacefully on July 22, 2015, after living a long and happy life with love, spirituality, and determination.
She was born 1924 in North Sydney, Cape Breton Island. Her caring parents were Louis Quirk of Newfoundland and Mary Campbell of Boisdale. Campbell ancestors sailed from the Hebrides islands of Scotland and settled Cape Breton in the 1830s.
Mrs. Fitzgerald was raised in a devout Catholic family of 10 children. After graduating St. Joseph High School, she worked at Jabalee’s market in North Sydney for a few years. Seeking more opportunity, she moved to Boston in 1952 to live with an aunt who had previously left Cape Breton in 1922. Mary’s first job in America was at a Woolworth department store. Shortly afterwards, she started working at Harvard University where she had a long career meeting interesting peo- ple from across the world until retiring in 2001.
She married John F. Fitzgerald of Boston in 1960. The wedding was at Sacred Heart Church in Lexington with a honeymoon at Niagara Falls. Afterwards, they settled in Lexington, Mass., and had three wonderful children.
Mrs. Fitzgerald faced the biggest challenge of her life when her husband died in 1968. Instead of moving back to Nova Scotia she purchased a house in Lexington and raised her children in a loving family. She retired in her late 70s and kept busy with family and friends. Throughout her life Mary never forgot her Cape Breton roots. She enjoyed the rocky Maine seacoast and gathering with friends for tea and pastries to chat about latest news.
A big thrill for her was shaking hands with John F. Kennedy in 1960 at a presidential campaign dinner in Boston. Also, she paid off the mortgage to own her home.
She is survived by three children, Daniel and his wife Karen, James, and Janet; and five grandchildren, Ashley and her husband Shane Geib, Kayla and Daniel Fitzgerald, Alexandria and Victoria Gonzales. Also survived by her sister, Regina Decourcey of Sydney and Ronald Quirk of North Sydney, and her godchildren Elizabeth Livingstone-Pinto and her husband, Luiz and John Dugan, as well as many other nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by four sisters, Noella, Alice, Joan, Theresa; and four brothers, Louis, Daniel, John, and Peter.
Special thanks to her longtime friends Carol Rocco and James Sullivan, both of Lexington.
Arrangements by Devito Funeral Home in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Funeral mass at St. Agnes Church in Arlington followed by burial at Westview Cemetery in Lexington, Mass.