COLUMBIA — Gerald Dean Fitzgerald, known as Dean, died Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, at home after a battle with cancer. He was 85.
He was born Oct. 5, 1928, in northwest Missouri and grew up in Bethany, Mo. He was the oldest of five children, born to Jesse Logan and Nellie Grace (Davis) Fitzgerald.
He was married to Helen Henderson from 1948 to 1972, and they had two daughters, Linda and Pamala, and a son, Bryan Jay, who died in 1981. Mr. Fitzgerald married Diane Berg in 1984.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from MU.
He started his career as a dairy farmer, then became a one-room country school teacher and an elementary school principal in Chillicothe. He was the first principal of Russell Boulevard Elementary School in Columbia. In 1966, he joined the MU Extension personnel department and retired in 1993.
Mr. Fitzgerald loved flying, world travel, scuba diving and Christmas trees. He and Diane built and ran Log Providence Pines, a Christmas tree farm, for many years. He served Meals on Wheels, flew blood deliveries for the Red Cross and drove the Sunday bus for his church.
He received a lifetime award from the Missouri Christmas Tree Association, and was a founder and member of Little Dixie Kiwanis Club in Columbia, receiving the Legion of Honor award for 55 years of service. He will be remembered for loving his family, teaching and being a hard worker.
He is survived by his wife; two brothers, Harold and Edward; two daughters, Pam and Linda; three blended family children, Mike (Laura), David (Rhonda), and Kristina; nine grandchildren, Wendy, Joe, Jennifer, Kellie, Tia, Rachael, Connor, Tyler and Lauren; and four great-grandchildren, Elora, Chloe, Tristan and Caiden.
A celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St., with a light lunch to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Bryan Jay Fitzgerald scholarship fund, MU Department of Music, or a charity of the donor's choice.
Arrangements under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home.
Online tributes may be left at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.