“Blessed are the meek”… the humble, the self-controlled. Their fruit is power. Power like that depicted in the Bible, in the Book of James - the tiny rudder that steers the large ship, the bit and bridle that leads the horse, the tongue that tames evil, the spark that starts a fire. In life, that was our Dad, Granddad, Uncle and Friend. JOHN R FITZSIMMONS, Jr. went home to God on Saturday, May 18, 2019.
He entered this world April 7, 1930. Born in Ames, Iowa to John R Fitzsimmons Sr. and Dorothy Proctor Fitzsimmons. At the ripe age of 5 years old, he and his sister Sue, 4 years his junior, virtually lost the care of their mother as she was institutionalized and remained so until her death. No doubt, that piece of his upbringing did much to shape the rambunctious, strong willed, devout and loving man who came to survive by putting all his faith in God.
John spent his youth in Ames. Grade school at St Cecilia’s, on to Ames High, and then on to his hometown Iowa State University in 1948 for 4 years of study and a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Economics. He graduated college in 1952 having also participated in ROTC. John was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army. He spent the bulk of his military time as a lieutenant in the Signal Corps at White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico. In and around these times, he chased adventure hitch hiking across the country which included a summer in West Yellowstone, Montana where he worked on a road crew. It was there that he met his future wife, Helene, the woman with whom he shared more than 62 years of “wedded bliss” until her passing in 2017.
John and Helene were married on April 16, 1955. By 1957, John, with the help and support of Helene, earned a law degree from the University of San Francisco. Soon thereafter he was hired at the only law firm he ever knew: Campbell, Custer, Warburton, and Britton where he established himself as an outstanding trial attorney. By the time he retired in 2000, and to this day, the firm stands strong as Campbell, Warburton, Fitzsimmons, Smith, Mendell & Pastore – one of San Jose’s oldest premier law firms.
Although he loved his work, John’s greatest pride came with his wife Helene and their brood of six kids. A renaissance man of great balance, he loved world travel, art, and being outdoors. Since he worked hard, he wanted to play hard. And he wanted to do that with his family. Weekends were not for doing household chores. Rather they were time for adventure. Museums in San Francisco. Family vacations to Alaska, Montana, Washington, Colorado. Endless trips over the hill to Twin Lakes beach in Santa Cruz. Hiking and back packing in Yosemite’s High County or Desolation Wilderness. Skiing until age 76 on slopes such as Mount Baker, Sugar Bowl, Squaw Valley and even taking on Art Linkletter’s family ski race at Alpine Meadows where the family notched a trophy cheeseboard for third place. All the while being sure to attend Mass wherever they roamed. He had a special love and respect for the families and friends developed over the years at St. Mary’s parish in Los Gatos, CA.
John is survived by his six children whom he loved dearly—Mike(Cissy), Dan(Katie), Bob, Dave(Sandy), Linda, Jim(Therese), and former in-laws: Jeannie, Don. He leaves 14 grandchildren, 2 great grandsons, and a great granddaughter. He is also survived by his sister, Sue Lessin, of Larkspur, California.
The family wishes to extend unending thanks to Elzbieta, Agniezska, and Freh who provided love, care and companionship and shared fulltime caregiving for several years. We will be forever grateful for your services.
John will be deeply missed, but there is great joy in knowing that he is now with God whom he loved honestly and truly. “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Friends and family are invited to a celebration of John’s life on July 20, 2019, 11:30 AM at St Mary’s Catholic church in Los Gatos. Reception to follow.