James J.'s Story

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James J. Fitzgerald, 81, of Topsfield, passed away at Masconomet Healthcare Center on the evening of July 4 with his loving wife Nancy of 54 years and his daughter, Erica (Lisa) by his side.
Born and raised in Medford, Jim was the youngest son of the late William E. and Anna T. (McClellan) Fitzgerald. After graduating from Medford High School in 1953, he briefly attended Tufts College before joining the U.S. Air Force in October 1954. Over the next few years he completed extensive training for jet engine maintenance and attained the rank of staff sergeant before an on-the-job injury forced an early retirement in 1958.
Upon returning home, he resumed his studies at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, where he developed an interest in building construction. Two years later, with an Associate degree in engineering, he went on to study at the Boston Architectural College, which eventually led to his lifelong career as an accomplished architect. In 1973, he founded his own architectural firm in Boston, and over the next 40 years took on a variety of projects both big and small, commercial and residential. His first notable achievement came in 1975 with the design and construction of Shaughnessy Rehabilitation Hospital in Salem, MA, which established his competence as a proficient architect and paved the way for a steady stream of additional work in the future, much of it in the hospital sector. Some of his most rewarding projects, however, were the residential and historical jobs which allowed him to make full use of his artistic and creative abilities. Much of his talented work can still be seen around the north shore, including Topsfield where his last project was the design and construction of downtown’s Topsfield Station. Another particular standout of his later years was a stunning, custom-built waterfront home on Block Island, R.I. which was featured in the June 2010 issue of Timber Home Living. Jim enjoyed many recreational pursuits with his family and friends over the years, including sailing, skiing, running, bicycling and golf. He was instrumental in organizing and promoting Topsfield’s first 10K road race on behalf of Rotary in 1979, now known as the Topsfield Fall Foliage Classic, and still held annually. He also had a passion for antique cars, and was very fond of his long-ago acquired 1935 Ford Phaeton that he eventually restored but was never able to drive due to his declining health.
In addition to his wife, Nancy and daughter, Erica Lisa Khan of Gloucester, Jim is survived by his son, Daniel Fitzgerald of Weymouth; two grandchildren, James and Daniel; as well as several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by both parents, as well as brothers, William E. and Robert P., and sister, Marie C. Eberle. Jim’s good-spirited nature, wit and indomitable optimism will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
Arrangements by Campbell Funeral Home 525 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA 01915. Information, directions, condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com.
Published on  July 22, 2017
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