Patricia Ann FitzGerald

05.05.1940 - 17.09.2019

Patricia passed away peacefully on Tuesday 17th September 2019 at Wellington Grange Care Home, Chichester aged 79 years. Beloved wife of Louis, mother of Andrew and Robert and devoted grandmother to Indigo, Ruby, Cosmo and Lola

Philip

09.10.2019

What a lovely lady, she will be missed by us all.
Anne and Philip

Rosemarie

08.10.2019

Remembering always that warm, welcoming smile with which my lovely cousin made everyone feel wanted. Lots of memories full of laughter in Wales and Nuneaton, punctuated sometimes with a stern look only a teacher can give. Many people can play Grieg’s Wedding at Troldhaugen, but Pat’s version played on request on the Kingsbridge Road piano will always be the best version for me.
Rosemarie, Bernard and family

Andy FitzGerald

06.10.2019

Patricia Ann FitzGerald (5th May 1940 - 17th September 2019)
My mother had a full, rich and happy life. She told me recently that really she had done everything that she had wanted to do. And it was great! So, let’s start at the very beginning….
Pat and her younger brother John were born during the Second World War into a very loving family. Their parents Arthur and Dolly Nicholls, were originally from South Wales. Due to the 1930’s recession, the couple had moved to Nuneaton in Warwickshire for Arthur’s new job with the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.
A very early memory of my mother was playing in the garden when her mother rushed out, picked her up, gave her a big hug and would not let her go. It was VE Day.
Growing up for Pat was a happy time. She particularly enjoyed long summer holidays spent in Wales with Joy and other relatives. She also had a passion for music, encouraged by her father, who surprised her one day by arriving home with a piano. Pat played in many competitions and arts festivals, playing duets with, or competing against, her friend and neighbour Jackie Brown (who’s reading next). However, my mother was about to get some other interests……!
At the age of 13 she went to a local bonfire party. Imagine her surprise when a cock sure local lad, trying to get noticed, dropped a lit ‘Jumping Jack’ near her feet. He thought she’d be frightened. She hit him! Hard! That was it, Ding Dong! Of course, the young man was Lou.
Miss Perry, (mum’s piano teacher who taught several people here), on hearing the news of her new boyfriend replied “Oh no, not that family!”. Yes indeed, it’s the FitzGerald’s!
In fact it was meant to be. The partnership survived the absences of Lou’s National Service near Swindon and Pat’s Teacher Training at St. Matthias College in Bristol. The couple married 8 years later and remained married for almost 58 years.
Following her training, Pat eventually settled into a teaching post at Higham Lane Infant School in Nuneaton. During the educational reforms of 1973, Pat moved to a new school, Milby, where she spent 15 happy years, eventually being promoted to Deputy Head and making many lifelong friends. Who can forget “Milby’s Monday Marvels”, when mum, having created an after school football class for young hopefuls, became the reluctant pinup of the Nuneaton Evening Tribune?
Mum being a teacher meant that we had lots of holidays. Easter, Whitsun and summer would see us join a group of friends – some here today – to caravan all over this sacred isle, to the Lake District, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Wales, Scotland, Somerset and many, many visits to Cornwall. Every year mum would ask us “Where do you want to go on holiday this year lads”, “Cornwall mum”, “not again?”, but we still went.)
I must admit I was quite relieved when an army of caravans didn’t turn up outside the church today!
In 1988 Pat took early retirement from teaching. By this stage my father had risen to become MD of Dunlop Aviation, a success his mother – the legendary ‘Grandma Fitz‘ - later credited to Pat’s strong support. My mother could now enjoy overseas travel with dad, rather than endure long periods apart. She also enjoyed playing golf with my dad, becoming lady captain of Nuneaton Golf Club.
Mum was also able to spend time on the many arts and crafts she loved. She was talented at painting, sewing, embroidery and knitting. Interior design also became a focus when they moved to Mancetter Farm House, where she threw herself - and my father - into a complete renovation of house and grounds. Not least because she had her new grandchildren in mind.
Like all the homes Pat created, the farm was very warm and welcoming. Like her mother Pat was always an excellent cook and put on spectacular spreads for family and friends. Pat loved nothing more than having everyone together at Christmas.
Indeed, as many of you here today know, Pat was extremely kind, caring and loving. She believed in reaching out and in putting other people first. She was a giver and expected nothing in return.
People have said that Pat was the big sister they never had. Some have said that Pat was there for them when no-one else was. For Pat, nothing was too much trouble.
A very dedicated mother to myself and Robert. Devoted grandmother to Indigo, Ruby, Cosmo and Lola, every effort was made to stay in touch with her remote family including regular visits overseas to Hong Kong, China, Japan and the USA.
But she wasn’t a pushover, an old friend from the caravanning days remembers my brother saying, after he had fallen into the river for the third time in a week, “don’t tell my mum tell my dad”!
In 2010, wishing to downsize, my parents took the bold move to leave Warwickshire. Partly wanting a new challenge, partly wanting to live nearer us “but not on the doorstep”, they eventually moved into a new house in Lavant. The insistence on a new house came from my dad as he knew anything else would end up with him doing an awful lot of work!
My mother loved it here, in particular the strong and very supportive friendships they made in Meadow Close and beyond, of which we are also grateful. She loved being a Friend of the Chichester Theatre, a member of both Goodwood and Fontwell Park racecourses, Lavant Horticultural Society, and the WI.
No tribute to Mum would be complete without mentioning the unfailing support she gave to Dad. She cared for him at home until her own ill health meant she quite simply could not do it.
Fortunately help was close by at Wellington Grange whilst she bravely underwent treatment. Regularly visiting twice a day it was quite simply what she wanted to do, even though for long periods she enjoyed a good quality of life and many other options were available.
Eventually the chemotherapy took its toll and she too moved to Wellington Grange where she passed away peacefully on 17th September, aged 79. We wish to thank all the staff there for their immense dedication and kindness.
Even up to the penultimate day, my mother was more concerned about “do you need a better chair” or “when did you last eat”, rather than her own situation.
In close, I would like to leave you, her family and friends, with these words. They were first used by Pat’s father to describe her mother. Pat shared the family trait.
“She lived for those she loved, and those she loved remembered.”
God bless you Mum and thank you from all of us.


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