August 18, 1942 – April 29, 2021
Carol Fitzgerald (née Bloch) died in Jacksonville, Florida on April 29, 2021, due to complications from Inclusion-body Myositis. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 18, 1942, the daughter of Edward A. and Catherine E. (McKay) Bloch.
In 1956 she moved with her family to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they owned a small beachside motel, The Grenadier. Carol graduated from Fort Lauderdale High School in 1960, and attended the University of Florida for one year before transferring to the University of Mississippi, where she received her B. A. in 1964. She married John McKee in 1965, with whom she had two sons: John Michael McKee, Jr. and James Scott McKee. They divorced in 1977. In 1984, she married Captain Jean Fitzgerald, (U.S. Navy, Ret.). They were married thirty years when her husband passed away in 2014. In 2012, Carol and her husband moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to live closer to their family.
From 1978 to 2000 Carol was an administrative aide to a succession of Broward County Commissioners. She then served as administrative assistant to the director of the Broward County Public Library system, and then as Literary Resources Coordinator for the Florida Center for the Book, before retiring in 2005.
Carol and her husband, Jean, were involved in many community organizations, mainly relating to the arts and libraries in Fort Lauderdale. Her love of books and literature led to the publication of two, two-volume bibliographies: The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography (2001) and Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980 (2009), both published by Oak Knoll Press in Association with The Center for the Book in The Library of Congress. In the years preceding and following publication of her books, several universities and libraries mounted exhibits of books and materials from Carol's vast collection of Rivers of America books. She was especially proud to donate all of her books, correspondence, art work, and files relating to the Rivers of America series and books relating to the Series Americana bibliography to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division of The Library of Congress.
She was a member of the Broward County Library Foundation, The Grolier Club (New York City), and the Lauderdale Yacht Club.
She is survived by her two sons, John Michael McKee, Jr., and James Scott McKee; her three beloved grandchildren Sarah McKee, Justin McKee, and Jason McKee; her sister, Lois Jean Knoepfel (Hans); and her nephews Hans and Robert Knoepfel, all of Jacksonville.
A memorial service will be held for Carol on Monday, May 10, 2021 beginning at 6:00pm, at Hardage-Giddens Oaklawn Legacy Lodge. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Light of the World Clinic, The Myositis Association, or Seafarers House.
Monday, May 10, 2021
May 10, 2021
It has been my pleasure since we first met over our love of rare books, to consider Carol my friend. Carol and Jean donated Jean’s American Guide Series by the Federal Writers’ Project which became the building blocks for the premiere WPA collection and catalogs belonging to Broward County Library’s Bienes Center. Carol went on, with Jean’s editorial skills, to create two seminal bio-bibliographies. The Rivers of America and Series America: post Depression-era regional literature, 1939-1980. Both the collections along with her notes are now housed in the Library of Congress.
Carol loved books, but her children and grandchildren were the focus of her life. She told me once she wanted to live long enough to see Sarah graduate from high school. But she lived to see so much more. She was so proud of you all. Rest in peace my dear friend.
May 10, 2021
Carol was my saver and my friend.We met 2013 thanks to my husband and from that day she was a huge part of my life.She was my truly best friend and more than that.l Hope she new how much she was special in my life,and how much I’m going to be alone with out of my life but forever in my heart.She is my angel and someone who change my life for ever someone that I loved with my heart and unconditionally.Love Dida
Gloria J Kozich
May 10, 2021
The photo the boys attached here brings back many memories, but I knew Carol before those adorable 2 sons were ever thought of, in fact we were exactly 15 & 16 years old when we met at the school bus stop on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale where we lived. Carol reminded me later in the years how she was younger than me. I would deny it each time!
I believe our fondest shared memory is being in the Ft. Lauderdale film, "Where the Boys Are". About 2 years ago Carol and I watched that once again to try to catch a glimpse of ourselves on the beach or walking across the street with the major stars. There is not enough room here to talk of our times together, both single and married. Too many years. I cry as I think about her and the trials she endured with her affliction. She was a strong woman and one of a kind. The ultimate lady. I pray she is united now with her husband Jean.
My heartfelt condolences to Jim, John, Carol's grandchildren and her sister Jean. I grieve with you all each day.
As Carol would say, "with my love", Gloria (Kozich)
May 5, 2021
I can remember the first time I met Carol..I had been searching for my Captain of the ship I served on, Captain Jean Fitzgerald for a long time and I finally tracked him down in Fort Lauderdale and called him and he invited me over to their condo. I told Carol that I had never been to Fort Lauderdale before but that I always wanted to go there after I saw the movie "Where the Boys Are" when I was in college. Carol told me she was an extra on the beach in the film we laughed as we talked about it..then we hit it off with our mutual love of books and politics...I loved my visits with my Captain and Carol. I was an enlisted man . The last few times I saw him his memory was starting to fail and he said he always remembered me from when I was an Admiral on his staff. I stopped correcting him and accepted my promotion. What a great couple.
May 4, 2021
We will always cherish the wonderful memories of the fun -- and often noisy! -- times our grandchildren shared together through the years at the Point. Carol's and Jean's annual holiday party was always a lovely event.
Our heartfelt sympathy and loving thoughts are with all knew Carol, especially Jim, John, Sara, Jason, and Justin.
Karen and Gary Rancourt
May 4, 2021
Words can't express my sorrow at this news. I met Carol some years ago when I was treating her precious husband Jean (home health physical therapy). We remained in contact through the years, and I cherished my visits with her. She made sure there were hors d'oeuvres available and a bottle of white wine. We discussed Jean's naval career, her philanthropies, our favorite books, and struggles she endured with her progressive disease. She was such a fighter though, and would never surrender! I swear, I half assumed she was determined enough to just stand at any given moment. Her strength and courage in the face of adversity is a rarity, and she will be PROFOUNDLY missed. Condolences to her family. -JoAnn Wiley
May 3, 2021
Memories of our friendship with Carol will always be cherished. Lovely times were shared at Point of America, and as fellow members of the Lauderdale Yacht Club. May your many accomplishments continue to inspire.
Gerhard and Olympia
May 1, 2021
Carol was a very special friend in my life for over 30 years. She and her husband Jean and my beloved late husband, Dr. Erwin Vasquez , spent some wonderful times together in Fort Lauderdale.
Carol was not only a brilliant woman, but one filled with compassion and love for family, friends and community. I had kept in touch with her on Facebook and email through the years.
I hope the 3 of them in heaven are having a reunion and talking about old times.
Our family send their condolences to her children and grandchildren who she loved dearly. Rest in peace my friend. Elaine
May 1, 2021
I met Carole thru her grandchildren who attended school with my children.
Her son was a good friend of the family and the McKee children feel like my own. We spent so many memories of our children’s childhood together.
Carole’s home was an annual gathering place for Christmas. I loved her holiday party so much and looked forward to catching up with the entire McKee clan.
Carole seemed to me like a remembrance of elegance and kindness. She had a photo of her next to Audrey Hepburn. To me she was an Audrey Hepburn in real life. She elevated the atmosphere any time we were together.
I truly am blessed by the kindness of a wonderful woman and her amazing family.
I will miss her
May 1, 2021
I met Carol through Jean Fitzgerald. I lived in Gaeta, Italy, south of Rome, when Jean served as Executive Officer of the Flag Ship, USS Little Rock.
I was delighted to meet Carol many years later. I admired how Jean totally supported Carol in her academic research-often helping her in the research and assisting her with her presentations as he did in Washington DC at the Library of Congress. He played the supportive spouse to a tee.
Since Jean did not have children from his previous marriages he was thrilled to have two step children and future grandchildren.
I visited Jean and Carol in Fort Lauderdale on several occasions. We had the best times together. They visited me in Washington DC. I admired them both-and now they are now reunited.