H.M. Patterson & Son-Oglethorpe Hill Chapel

4550 Peachtree Road Ne, Atlanta, GA


Alan L Fitzwater

January 15, 1938January 4, 2020

Lt. Colonel Alan Lee Fitzwater, United States Air Force, Ret., age 81, of Atlanta, passed away peacefully on January 4, 2020.

He is survived by his wife Jean Ann Lerza Fitzwater of Atlanta; his daughter Leanne Fitzwater Shaw (Chris) of Atlanta, GA; and two grandchildren: Holly Elizabeth Shaw of Washington, D.C. and Christopher Taylor Shaw, Jr. of Atlanta. He is also survived by his brother Roger Franklin Fitzwater (Andrea) of Springfield, Missouri, and sister Linda Fitzwater Coleman (Gerry) of Texas. He is predeceased by a brother, Kent Fitzwater. He is also survived by five nieces and three nephews.

Alan was born on January 15, 1938 in Vienna, Missouri, the son of Berneice (Tom) Eaton Fitzwater and Leonel Gillis Fitzwater. One of four children, he grew up in Rolla, Missouri on a family farm. He was a three-season, decorated high school athlete and enjoyed playing sports with his brother Roger as his athletic side kick. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at age 15, which at the time made him the state’s youngest recipient.

Growing up with an affection for the great outdoors, Alan could name every species of tree, plant and animal in his native state.

Known to his friends as "Fitz", Alan attended the Missouri School of Mines (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology) where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. Yearning to fly jets, he entered the US Airforce as a Cadet at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California, where he began training as a Navigator/Bombardier. He met his bride of 59 years, Jean, when she was attending the University of California in Sacramento and he was a bright and shining new USAF cadet. He later finished his studies there, graduating with a degree in International Affairs.

Alan served his country in the USAF honorably for 29 years, based all over the world, and flew B-52s, FB-111s, and F-4s. He was highly decorated. His military training was second to none. One of his favorite assignments was taking young cadets through training on the B-52 bombers.

Following his military retirement, Alan and Jean moved to southern California, where Alan joined Northrop Corporation (now Northrop Grummun) in the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Division.

After retiring from Northrop, Alan and Jean moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to live near their only daughter Leanne and her husband, Dr. Christopher Shaw. Alan and Jean were thrilled to become grandparents to Holly and Christopher. They were beloved as “Nonny and Poppy” and relished their roles, attending all school events, sports and after-school activities.

He and Jean were consummate entertainers and hosted many festive celebrations with their inner circle.

Alan Fitzwater was an avid, talented hobbyist. He could fix anything. He always had a real horseshoe pit dug in every yard he every had. He built an amazing treehouse in his backyard which was popular with the children in his neighborhood. He hand-tied his flies as an accomplished fly fisherman.

He excelled in and followed tennis, golf, racquetball, basketball, baseball, hockey, and swimming among other sports. He loved table tennis. He cheered the Cardinals, the Angels and the Braves. He had a huge collection of coins, stamps and autographed baseballs and sports paraphernalia.

He and Jean adored their dogs all, from pedigrees to mutts.

He was a man’s man. He believed that “working out” was a pick-up basketball game at the YMCA. He could fly jets and he could fly fish. But he had a soft heart, especially when it came to his family and his country. He was deeply patriotic.

From a humble start in the Ozarks, he went on to see the world, celebrate a milestone anniversary with the love of his life and pass on a legacy of a kind, progressive, and virtuous life. He will be greatly missed.

A service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at H.M. Patterson & Son, Oglethorpe Hill, 4550 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, Georgia 30319. Reception to follow. Committal with high military honors will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory are suggested to Mercy Care or Atlanta Humane Society.


  • Funeral Service Tuesday, January 14, 2020
  • Reception Tuesday, January 14, 2020
  • Committal Service Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Alan L Fitzwater

have a memory or condolence to add?

John McDonald

January 11, 2020

Goodbye, old friend, you can rest now. You have flown your 81 missions and performed above and beyond the call of duty. Time to hang up your cleats and spikes and sneakers, your g-suit and helmet and all those uniforms. We are forever indebted to you for your friendship these past 41 years and thank you for the family friendships that will endure. You were the All-American in my life.

Carol Francis Sher

January 9, 2020

My dad, Col. James Francis, was in the cockpit next to Alan in the air for many years, and then later, a co-worker at Northrup. It's not easy living the sojourner's life the military requires. We moved our households every few years. We were quite lucky to live near the Fitzwaters--a beautiful welcoming family-- on base and then later in Southern California. I treasure the times we shared and I admire Alan, Jean and Leanne very much.
I'm going to go dig for some photos. I know I have some treasures from the men doing the dishes on Mother's Day and some Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. We shared a lot.
I salute him, a life well lived.
Love, Carol Francis Sher

Larry Lawson

January 7, 2020

One word... a man’s man.. We will miss one of the most beloved men that Carol and I have ever met.
He was a joy to all of us. Poppy was our first introduction the the Shaws. He came to pick Holly up from a play date with Abby when they were in 1st grade. So many, many wonderful memories of time spent with Poppy, vacations, holidays, play dates with the kids!You will always be in our hearts missed forever. Guess that’s more than one word.
Love You Poppy, Larry & Carol Lawson

Roger Fitzwater

January 7, 2020

Roger Fitzwater

January 7, 2020

From Roger Fitzwater
Alan Lee Fitzwater was my brother. But he was much more than that. He was my BIG BROTHER. He was my mentor, protector and b cheer leader. While we were growing up, I looked up to him for so many things. We fished and hunted together. Played summer baseball.
He was an outstanding center fielder with a strong and accurate arm. We played on the same basketball team and football team in high school. I recall shooting baskets with Alan until dark many evenings.
We were in Boy Scouts together, both attaining the level of Eagle Scout (in separate years).
It was obvious to those around him, he was a natural leader, showing that in his later life.
He chose to serve his country in the military. He was dedicated and served honorably. We could all see that he enjoyed his chosen life’s work. To say that everyone was so VERY proud of Alan would be a huge understatement.
Alan was not just my brother, he was my BEST friend, my hero, and I loved him dearly. I will miss him. But, I will always have such great memories of our lives together. Rest in peace, my brother.

Robert Patterson

January 7, 2020

Alan was a wonderful man. He was always inspiring and uplifting. He made the world a better place. He will be missed by friends and family.

Robert Patterson

January 7, 2020

Alan was a doer. As we worked together, I never heard him hesitate when given a task. And he always finished the job. Never had to send things back to Alan to correct or reaccomplish. When he signed off on a project, be it a test report or policy letter or position directive, that piece of work was correct, finished, and ready for publication. His community life was an example of "how it should be done". Always a leader. As a family friend, he was true, reliable, and would always be there. He was a great wing man. Always had your six covered. We shall miss a great man and true friend. We salute you, Alan.