In Memoriam

Francis Gerard "Jerry" Fitzpatrick '42

Francis Gerard "Jerry" Fitzpatrick '42, a legendary figure at Saint Mary's and in Contra Costa County, died on Dec. 30, 2008. He was 89.

A successful businessman who owned Fitzpatrick Chevrolet-Buick in Concord, Mr. Fitzpatrick was patriarch of a Saint Mary's family with three generations of graduates. He was deeply involved with the College throughout his life.

"Jerry had a tremendous sense of loyalty to the College and his family, and was a real pillar of society in the East Bay and the business world." says Brother President Ronald Gallagher.

Mr. Fitzpatrick was on the Saint Mary's Board of Regents since 1988 and was a tireless fundraiser for the College. He also supported many community organizations, and his many honors included Concord Businessman of the Year, the St. Jude Hospital Achievement Award and the Archbishop Alemany Award for Christian Service. In 1993, he was SMC's Alumnus of the Year.

After earning his degree in 1942, Mr. Fitzpatrick served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He then worked in the Oakland Chevrolet assembly plant managed by his father, Frank J. Fitzpatrick. At a time when Californians' love affair with the automobile was taking off, the Fitzpatrick father-and-son team ventured in 1948 to the growing suburbs of Contra Costa and opened Fitzpatrick Chevrolet-Buick. It grew into one of the county's largest and most successful dealerships and remains a family business.

In retirement, Mr. Fitzpatrick spent time at his second home in Palm Springs, where he befriended local luminaries, including Bob Hope, the Beach Boys and former President Gerald R. Ford. Whether interacting with celebrities or a young family looking to buy its first car, Mr. Fitzpatrick always treated people with respect, Brother Mel Anderson recalls.

"Jerry Fitzpatrick was a very devout and clever man - a man of real polish," Brother Mel says.

Mr. Fitzpatrick's wife of 62 years, Mary Dolores, died in 2007. He is survived by sons Jerry '67 and Dennis '70, eight grandchildren (including SMC alumna Lisa '95) and one great-grandchild.

His funeral Mass was on Jan. 8 in the Chapel.

- John Grennan


  • Matthias Oscar Heede '50
  • Frank Leahy '53
  • Henry A. Leenknecht '52
  • Roy Lemucchi '46
  • Jennifer A. Martinez '12
  • John A. Martinez Jr. '63
  • Stephen K. Miller '42
  • Richard O'Sullivan '54
  • Clifford D. Ryan '42
  • John A. Schantin Jr. '51
  • Robert F. Shannon '70
  • John F. Viera '68
  • Gregory J. Wells '65
  • Capt. Roland Willet '36

Family & Friends

  • Robert Amador, husband of Janet Amador '85 ME '93
  • Nate C. DeGiobbi
  • Dennis M. Hendrickson
  • William L. Jaeger
  • John James
  • Msgr. Edgar McCarren
  • James Patrick Murphy, father of Gerald Murphy '72, Gary Murphy '83 and Noreen P. Hughes '78
  • Rosemary F. Peterson
  • Henrietta Russo-Ilaria, mother of Father Michael Russo
  • Gloria Scilacci,
  • wife of Cal Scilacci '50
  • Stanford W. White
  • Charlotte Bettencourt Wixson, mother of Heidi Wixson Novak '88 and Amy Wixson '91

Saint Mary's magazine runs the names of recently deceased alumni, Christian Brothers and friends who have given to Saint Mary's.