John Gerald “Jack” Fitzgerald, 85, of Longmeadow, was born on March 14, 1936 a son of Gerald Fitzgerald and Elizabeth (Betty) Bresnahan Fitzgerald. He was born in Westfield, raised in Springfield, and attended Technical High School, Mt. Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket RI, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and AIC in Springfield. He played on AIC’s golf and basketball teams maintaining his love of all sports throughout his life even coming to love some he knew very little about, soccer and women’s lacrosse, thanks to his grandchildren. For many years Jack sponsored, coached and played on men’s touch-football teams, (Riverdale Bengals), softball teams (Riverdale Lanes and Fitzgerald Realty), and basketball teams. Jack loved his time at Notre Dame but his love for his high school sweetheart and future wife of 64 years, June Ottani Fitzgerald brought him home to Springfield where they soon married and then lived in Longmeadow for 58 years. Jack is survived by his devoted wife, June C. Fitzgerald; three loving children, Jennifer Fitzgerald Shapiro and her husband Douglas of Longmeadow, John G. Fitzgerald Jr., of Newton, and Joseph Fitzgerald and his wife Jenny of Longmeadow; his grandchildren of whom he was exceptionally proud, Alex Shapiro, Olivia Shapiro, Caroline Fitzgerald, Lily Fitzgerald and June Fitzgerald; two brothers-in-law, Donald Ottani of Longmeadow and Gilbert LeBlanc of Ludlow; along with his many nieces and nephews. John was predeceased by his parents, and his sister, Kathleen (Winky) LeBlanc. Jack began his long career in the bowling industry by working for AMF as a sales representative and management trainer. That led to an opportunity at 28 years of age to buy an existing bowling center in West Springfield, Riverdale Lanes. With nothing but his intellect and history of hard work, Jack purchased the business and turned Riverdale into a thriving bowling center for many years. His reputation grew in the industry and he purchased three more bowling centers over the years, all in Pittsburgh PA. His reputation and the relationships he developed over the years brought him to purchase several other sport and entertainment establishments which he managed, loved and the whole family enjoyed for many years. He purchased a golf course in PA, a tennis center in Agawam, a travel agency, a real estate and construction company, a restaurant on Cape Cod and the odd horsemeat business in France. He loved to spend time with his customers; he was a storyteller who loved a good time with his friends and family. His love of life has been and will be the subject of many a tale for years to come and nothing would please him more! Relatives and friends may call on Saturday, January 22nd from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at the Byron Keenan Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center, 1858 Allen Street, in Springfield. A funeral home service will begin at 1:00 PM. Burial will be private in Longmeadow Cemetery. For more info, please visit us at www.byronkeenan.com
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