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Joseph Fitzgerald

Joseph Wayne Fitzgerald

Friday, May 21st, 1948 - Monday, May 4th, 2020
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Obituary

A Celebration of the Life of Joseph Wayne Fitzgerald (May 21st, 1948-May 4th, 2020)

Joseph Wayne Fitzgerald was born on May 21st, 1948 in Niles, Michigan to John and Mildred Fitzgerald. Joe completed the family, joining sisters Betty, Vivian, Marilyn, Jeanette, Pat, Judy (Richard), and Bonnie (Bill) and brother Bill (Gail). Joe was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Betty and Marilyn, and children Bobbie and Wayne as well as his close friend, Jon Lewis. He resided in Luther, Michigan with his wife, Barbara.

Joe spent his childhood making memories with his siblings, cousins and friends roaming the woods, lakes and town of Cassopolis, Michigan. He was married to Ann (Ordway) in 1966, having three children- Bobbie, Wayne, and Shawn. After separating from Ann, he married his true heart, Barbara (Koenigshof) in 1975. Shawn (Tracy) was joined by sisters Shea (Tim) Umbreit, Jennifer Rodabaugh, Bobbi Jo (Matt) Holmes, and Tricia Morris.

Joe is celebrated by Barbara and his children as well as grandchildren: Katlyn (Doug) Nichols, Karissa (Zach) Nicklas, Brianna (Tyler) Salisbury, Tanner Fitzgerald, MaKenzie Fitzgerald, Leelen Fitzgerald, Allison Umbreit, Clara Umbreit, Benjamin Umbreit, Emily Umbriet, Jesse Umbreit, Brandon Rodabaugh, Kinson Rodabaugh, Rowden Holmes, Gavick Holmes, Monroe Holmes, and Rem Morris. Joe also had seven great grandchildren: Stella, Sawyer, and Lillian Nichols; Aspen, Braxtin, and Kooper Nicklas; and Jennessee Salisbury.

Anyone that knew Joe, knew he was a man of Faith. He actively participated in his church, Edgette’s Wesleyan, as well as the Emmaus Community and Christian Motorcycle Association. Joe volunteered for the fire department in Cassopolis, Michigan as well as Luther, Michigan. He was the fire chief for several years in Luther. He remained an active board member for the Luther Fire Department for many years.

Joe worked in tool and die and finished his career as an employee for Osceola county maintenance. He retired in November of 2013. Joe loved outdoor adventures including fishing, hunting and finding mushrooms. A favorite place was Beaver Island however the best mushroom hunting spot will remain a secret. He loved being with his family and friends and could make a stranger into a friend within five minutes. There are too many tales to tell regarding this “Big Fish” but they all end with smile.

Joe and Barb spent his retirement years travelling cross country to visit their siblings, children and grandchildren. They shared many special adventures of their own, finding happiness dancing through the rain and sunshine they were blessed with.

Rest in Peace Joe. You will be missed.
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CW

Colin Wignall

Posted at 04:27am
Joe was a truly wonderful, hard working and welcoming person, who I will sadly miss. After nearly 20 years without seeing him, I was very lucky to spend time with Joe and the family, once again. However brief the time was that I spent with Joe, it will always be fondly remembered and the time spent with him will always have been too brief. Most importantly, Joe leaves behind so many happy memories and a wonderful family.
AM

Ann Morris

Posted at 08:37pm
Joe was a wonderful family man and friend. He always greeted all with a big smile and a huge heart. He was loved by many and will truly be missed by family and all his friends. My condolences to the family and we will continue to pray for peace, healing, and share those memories of him, the legacy he left behind is a great reminder of his love for family. Ann Morris and family
DA

Denise "Corbit" Anders

Posted at 02:39pm
Dear Barb and family.
Joe was a remarkable man. Growing up w his brother Bill's kids, we got to know a lot of the Fitzgerald clan. Many memories.
My Mother, Trudy A Gay-Corbit-Ridenour, sends her love and sympathies for you and the family.
My Father, Clyde Corbit, also sends his condolences. They both knew Joe long before my sister and I came along.
Sending hugs and prayers to each of you.
~ Denise "Corbit" Anders
~~~~~
"Those we love don't go away,
They walk beside us every day.
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
So loved, so missed, so very dear."

KN

Karen Neiger

Posted at 01:39pm
I've known the wonderful family for many years. Most recently spent many years on the Luther Fire District#1 Fire Board with Joe. He was very dedicated to what ever he put his 💓 into. As an Emmaus pilgrim we shared a special friendship with God. Blessings to your entire family❣️
JE

Jill Bontrager Edelen

Posted at 09:55am
I have been so heavy-hearted since hearing the news of Joe's passing, even though I know he is rejoicing in his heavenly home with all the loved ones who were waiting for him. For Barb and the family, I know Joe's physical absence leaves a gaping hole in your lives but it is so obvious that his spirit lives on in each and all of you who loved him. He left a wonderful legacy in his precious family and was such a solid role model and spiritual leader for all his kids and grandkids. Well done, good and faithful servant!

I cannot look at Joe's twinkling eyes and smile without seeing my many Fitzgerald uncles reflected in his loving face. I loved them all and Joe's dad, my Uncle John, was one of the kindest, most loving people I've ever known. Uncle John was much older than my mother, his little sister, but he was always there for her. When Dad got called back into the service for Korea, it was Uncle John who dropped everything to drive us... mom, me (an infant) and my sister (a toddler)... to Oklahoma where dad served. Joe inherited that kindness and that servant's heart that makes him a great man in God's eyes.

Joe was an upperclassman in high school... only two years older than me, but in those days it seemed like he was in another league. But, even in high school, my memory of Joe was always smiling and sending positive energy wherever he was. He was always approachable and everybody's friend. Such love and welcoming warmth was a reflection of God's love shining through him even back then.

Joe, you will be so missed by those you left behind but know that you will never be forgotten and rest assured that when we think of you, we will automatically smile and praise God for the gift of you.

Your cousin, Jill (Bontrager Edelen)
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