OBITUARY

Walter Ronald Fitzgerald

May 8, 1936October 11, 2014
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Walter Ronald Fitzgerald, 1936-2014. It is with deep sorrow that the family of Walter Ronald Fitzgerald announce that he passed away peacefully at the Halifax Infirmary QEII, October 11, 2014.

Born in Halifax, Walter was the son of the late Phylis (Rondeau Brown) and Walter Fitzgerald. He attended Halifax County, Halifax City Public Schools, and Dalhousie University. From an early age, Walter was an enthusiastic, active participant in his community. His leadership qualities showed from his early schools days; as a multi-disciplined athlete, as student council representative, as Head Boy at Queen Elizabeth High School.

At Dalhousie, Walter was involved in Student Union activities, and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Walter captained the Dalhousie Varsity Hockey team (which he later coached). Walter played Varsity Football, track and field and he helped co-ordinate several inter-faculty sports events.

After graduation, Walter began his 33 year career as an educator with both the Halifax City and Halifax County School Systems. While recognized by most as a politician, Walter made an outstanding contribution in the field of education as a teacher and as an administrator. Long admired as the defender of the “little guy”, Walter’s record as a teacher and an administrator, of what is regarded as inner city schools, was enviable as he left his mark with students, parents, and fellow educators.

Walter entered politics when he was first elected alderman for the City of Halifax in 1966. In 1971 Walter put his education career on hold when he was elected Mayor of the City of Halifax. In 1974, Walter was elected MLA for Halifax Chebucto and was made a member of Cabinet serving as Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for the Housing Commission Act. Although he was a very popular Minister of Labour, Walter believed his greatest contribution was as Minister of Housing with the advent and expansion of Lower Sackville, Forest Hills housing, and massive Senior Citizen’s Housing projects throughout the province. He was re-elected MLA for Halifax Chebucto in 1978, representing this constituency until 1980.

Walter also resumed his education career in 1978, and in 1988, Walter returned to municipal politics to serve as Alderman in Ward 2, and then Deputy Mayor until 1994, at which time he retired from his career as an educator, and was once again elected Mayor of the City of Halifax in October, 1994. In 1995, Walter was elected as the first Mayor of the newly formed Halifax Regional Municipality - a position he held until November 2000.

Walter remained actively involved in many community activities and served as a volunteer with several charitable organizations. Walter “retired” to his summer home at Queensland Beach where he enjoyed gardening, “puttering” around the cottage and hosting his Annual Chowderbowl Challenge. Walter also looked forward to his winter sojourns in Aruba and Indian Shores, FL.

In 2010, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia appointed Walter an Honorary Member of the Executive Council, granting him the privilege to use the honorific “The Honorable“ before his name, and the initials “E.C.N.S.” after his name. Walter distinguished himself in the fields of government, education, and of service to his community. His outstanding achievements provide a model of leadership that is an inspiration to those who follow.

Walter is survived by his wife, Linda; sons, Gregory, Missouri; Harry (Heather Marshall), Halifax; Stephen (Maria Medioli), Halifax; daughter, Heather (Robert Johnson), Ottawa; daughter-in-law, Karen (Chris Rowarth), Halifax; brother, Paul (Louise), Burlington, Ontario; brother-in-law, Jim Snow, Havre Boucher; sister-in-law, Karen Buchanan, Sydney; grandchildren, Veronika, Max, Savannah, Daisy, Franco, Mia, Sadie, Matthew, and David, as well as several nieces and nephews. Besides his parents, Walter was predeceased by his son, Hugh.

The family would like to thank the paramedics with Emergency Health Services and the ER nurses and physicians at the Halifax Infirmary, QE II. In honoring Walter’s wishes, cremation has taken place under the direction and guidance of J.A. Snow Funeral Home. Visitation will be held Thursday, October 16, 2014 in JA Snow Funeral Home, 339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax (902-455-0531), from 4:00pm – 7:00pm. A celebration of Walter’s life will be held on Friday, October 17 at 4:30 pm in the World Trade & Convention Centre, 1800 Argyle St, Halifax, NS, followed by a reception.

Memorial donations may be made to: Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (the Molly Appeal), The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, or any charity of your choice.

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, October 16, 2014
  • Celebration of Life Friday, October 17, 2014
REMEMBERING

Walter Ronald Fitzgerald

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David Murphy

April 25, 2015

Dear Linda and family;

Mr.Walter Fitzgerald as he is known to me of whom I have the deepest of respect for. Mr. Fitzgerald, I have to say was one of my favourite teachers. Having been in his class the first year Cunard Jr. High opened. He taught me many valuable things that I recall throughout the years and when I think of those lessons I remember a great teacher. I had the privilege to meet him again several years later and I was surprised that he remembered my name. I now live in Ontario and have been here for 28 years but his kindness travels with me. I will always remember him and the good he did for all in my class at Cunard and I wish to express my sincerest condolences to you, his family and friends though I am late in offering them.

Suzanne Milledge

October 26, 2014

Sincere condolences to your whole family on Walter's passing. He was such a large part of Halifax's and the province's political and educational community, in such an important way, for so long. Suzanne Milledge & Jay Abbass

Jay Abbass

October 26, 2014

Linda and family,
A death in my own family regrettably prevented my paying respects in person. Walter was a one-of-a-kind, irrepressible and respected force for good in Halifax, his riding of Halifax Chebucto, and the province. Please accept my sincere sympathies at Walter's passing.

Kim Leaman

October 20, 2014

Dear Linda and family.
Just wanted to let you know that Wayne and I have been thinking about you and your family in your time of sorrow. Walter was a true gentleman and he earned his wings. He will be deeply missed by all of us that knew him. Take care and hope to see you soon. Kim & Wayne Leaman, Hampton, N.B.

Wayne Adams

October 20, 2014

Hello Linda; i regret not getting to say hello to you at Walter's Memorial service on Friday. It was a wonderful Home Going celebration of a life well-lived. You have our deep condolences at this time, and I remember so many good times with Walter across the years..he truly had an impact on my life. God bless you and the Family!
Wayne & Nina Adams (East Preston)

Carol Poitras

October 19, 2014

To Linda and Family
Sorry to hear of Walter's death. Was in #422 at the bay Mariner. Carol & Dick. Thinking of you all.

Carol Poitras Moncton NB

October 19, 2014

Dear Linda and Family, we are so sorry to hear of the passing of Walter. He was a great guy and had a positive impact on the many lives he touched. Please know that you are in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time. We will certainly miss him at the Bay Mariner and our many conversations on the beach.
With heartfelt sympathy,
Frank and Florence MacDonald
Saint John NB

October 19, 2014

Greg, Harry, Stephen & Heather:

Sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I have many fond memories of seeing him during my childhood summers in Hubbards,

May each day find you one step closer to a place of gentle peace and warm remembering.. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Bob Chipman and Family

Dan Hemming

October 19, 2014

I can't say enough how much I appreciate Walter's support throughout the years. He was a great friend and mentor. He was a great man who was always willing to lend a hand. Walter had a great sense of humor who was a joy to be around. My condolences to Linda, Greg, Harry, Stephen and Heather; my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Robert Cameron

October 17, 2014

Dear Linda and Family, my deepest sympathy to hear of Walter`s passing. I like many friends of Walter have followed him from school through to all his community involvements as a Sportsman,Teacher and Politican serving his community and Province. I will remember him.

Robert Cameron, Revelstoke, BC