Frederick James Fitzsimmons peacefully passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022. He was in his favorite spot, looking out on a beautiful day at the farm, prayer book, poinsettia, iPad, and rosary nearby. He was 40 paces from where he was born, 91 years, 8 months, and 15 days before.
Fred was born Feb. 4, 1931, in the family farmhouse south of Vail, Iowa, to parents John “Freddie” and Marie (Costello) Fitzsimmons. Fred’s mother, Marie, died of TB when he was 11 years old. The kind and loving Franciscan Sisters at St. Ann’s Academy took special care of young Freddie. Father Dennis Clark, parish priest, mentored Freddie, coaching him in life through boxing. Freddie boxed through high school and continued to be a fighter throughout his life.
Freddie enrolled in the Navy after graduating high school, serving in the Korean War aboard LST 1138. He was a mechanic in the engine room. Freddie was in a group of seamen who “won” a contest to see who could swim underwater the longest, shoot accurately and defend themselves. As a result, Freddie was trained by Marines in order to perform duties of search and rescue. Freddie was on a naval squad dropped behind enemy lines at night to pick up downed pilots.
On Nov. 29, 1958, Fred married the love of his life, his “beautiful bride,” Marian, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manning. Fred and Marian made their home on the farm south of Vail and raised their five children: Jeff, Jean, Ann, John and Jim. Fred had a lifelong passion and love of God and St. Ann Catholic Parish and Church in Vail.
Throughout his life, Fred was a farmer, a sailor, an insurance agent, and an 80+-year-old Carroll Herald bulk route driver. Fred drove his buggy, pulled by his retired pacing racehorse, Meltdown, for weddings and the pure joy of it until he was nearly 90.
Fred was a loving husband and father, a grandfather and great-grandfather, brother and friend. Fred had a deep faith, was a faithful Catholic and prayed for us all. He became a caretaker, wonderfully caring for his beautiful bride at home as her Alzheimer’s progressed until her passing two years ago. Fred never slowed down. Fred drove to and from Omaha, Sioux City and Mason City. He spent time lunching with his sister Catherine, day trading stocks, overseeing the work on the farm, calling and texting his family, until his final Irish goodbye.
Fred had a heart of gold, making every person he encountered feel important and special. He had an attentive listening ear (as long as he was wearing his hearing aids) and loved to exchange thoughts and share stories over a hot cup of coffee. Fred was truly loved by all who were lucky enough to know him. They will all cherish the twinkle of his blue eyes, the memories of his boisterous laugh, his “Oh-Ho!”s and “Golly!”s, and more than anything, his overwhelming joy, pride, and love for his family.
Fred is survived by his children: Jeff Fitzsimmons (Barb), Jean Dare (Dave), Ann Emig (Mark), John Fitzsimmons (Lindy) and Jim Fitzsimmons (Shelley); 23 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; sister: Catherine Carey; in-laws: Larry and Carmen Kasperbauer, Isabel Kasperbauer, Marge Kasperbauer, Norma Kasperbauer, Kathy Kasperbauer, Lonnie Kasperbauer and Linda Kasperbauer; 12 godchildren; nieces and nephews; other relatives; and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents: John and Marie (Costello) Fitzsimmons; his loving wife: Marian (Kasperbauer) Fitzsimmons; and his two brothers: Jack and Gene.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at St. Ann Catholic Church in Vail, with Father Michael Cronin as celebrant and Father Shinoj Jose as concelebrant. Tommy, Joey and Andrew Fitzsimmons will be Mass servers. Jeff Fitzsimmons will be Eucharistic minister. Joe, Jackie, John, Tom, Greg, Tim and Steve Carey will be musicians, and Joe Carey will be accompanist. Father Paul Kelly will play the bagpipes. Jack Fitzsimmons, Jes Felder and Matthew Fitzsimmons will be lectors. Megan Starman, Katie McMahon, Steffi Emig Witt, Mallory Emig and Annalise Molek will be gift bearers. Casket bearers will be Jake Fitzsimmons, Nick Fitzsimmons, Mitch Fitzsimmons, Tyler Dare, Ryan Dare, Peter Fitzsimmons, Jimmy Fitzsimmons, Michael Fitzsimmons and John Fitzsimmons.
Following burial at St. Ann Catholic Cemetery in Vail, the family invites everyone to the Vail Community Building for a time of fellowship and lunch.
Huebner Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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