David Anthony “Tony” Fitzpatrick passed away at his home in Webster Groves, Missouri on June 8, 2019.
Adored by all who knew him; beloved husband for 47 years of Sara (Reeser) Fitzpatrick, cherished father of Ann Louise (Nathan) Jones and James David Fitzpatrick, adoring grandfather of David Fitzpatrick Jones, dear brother to Mary Jane Robinson, Laurie Mills, and Shaun Fitzpatrick, and uncle to many treasured nieces and nephews. We will all miss him dearly. He was preceded in death by his father David Patrick Fitzpatrick, mother Jayne Lois (Leake) Fitzpatrick, and sisters Margaret Lynn Harper and Julie Chamberlain.
Tony was born in Beardstown, Illinois and was raised in the Aurora, Oswego, Illinois area which accounts for his life-long dedication to the Chicago Cubs. He moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois to attend the University of Illinois in 1967, where he graduated with a degree in English Education, but not before meeting his future wife Sara at a Valentine’s Day party and impressing her with a Dylan Thomas poem, and having a spoon in his pocket. He taught high school and coached three sports in Genoa-Kingston, Illinois for two years before moving to Ohio to earn an MFA in Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University.
He returned to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois to work at the University of Illinois as an Assistant Professor of Ag Communications in the College of Agriculture. In 1987, he moved his family to St. Louis, Missouri for a position at Washington University’s Public Affairs department, where he worked as a science writer until his retirement in 2009.
Tony was a gifted writer and an award winning author. His book Signals from the Heartland was published in 1993 and cited among the best books of creative nonfiction in the sciences by Library Journal. His fiction was focused on the themes of family relationships, the Cold War era, and the absurdity of the mundane in everyday life. Tony’s love for music (specifically early R&B and early rock ‘n roll) and writing inspired both of his children to continue to create.
Outside of work Tony spent a good deal of his time coaching youth sports, particularly the softball, baseball, basketball, and soccer teams of his children. Additionally, his favorite aspect of his job at Washington University was mentoring young writers, both those new to the office and those in their undergraduate careers. He found great fulfillment in his genuine, natural talent of mentoring others. Simply stated, Tony was kind, generous, and never wanted to see a person hurt. He felt that challenges were inevitable, but he never wanted others to face them alone.
After his retirement, Tony continued to work as a free-lance writer. His most rewarding post-retirement pastimes have been substitute teaching in the Webster Groves School District, where he was known for his endless repertoire of jokes coupled with his deep kindness and sincere calling to help all students, and spending time with his family, including his new grandson, Davy.
We will all miss him dearly. The only way forward, as Tony would always say, is one foot in front of the other.
Services: Visitation at KUTIS AFFTON on Friday, June 14 from 4 to 7 p.m. and Mass Saturday, June 15 at 10 a.m. at St. Michael’s the Archangel in Shrewsbury. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Webster Groves High School or a charity of your choice.