John Galvin Fitzpatrick Sr., a retired state business finance official who followed local sports and did play-by-play for Loyola College basketball games, died of acute leukemia Saturday at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Homeland resident was 78.
A nephew of Herbert R. O'Conor, who served as governor and U.S. senator, Mr. Fitzpatrick was born in Baltimore and raised on University Parkway. As a boy he was attracted to the old International League Orioles and was among the crowd that watched the team's wooden ballpark burn July 4, 1944.
Mr. Fitzpatrick was a 1947 Loyola High School graduate and met for monthly breakfasts with his classmates at the Bel-Loc Diner until several months before his death.
After service in the Army as a medic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center during the Korean War, Mr. Fitzpatrick graduated from Loyola College with a bachelor of arts in English. He was a past president of its alumni association and athletic hall of fame.
"He had a magnificent, beautiful voice," said his daughter, Sally Fitzpatrick Waller of Towson, recalling that her father did play-by-play for Loyola Greyhounds basketball games at the school's Evergreen campus for four seasons. He was also a church lector for nearly 40 years and frequently called upon to serve as the master of ceremonies at banquets.
As a young man, he worked at the old Crosse and Blackwell plant in East Baltimore to help finance his education. He often recalled for family and friends his experiences there filling and emptying a vat of tomato sauce, getting into it and scrubbing it clean at the end of the work day.
He went on to become a First National Bank assistant vice president and was later executive director of the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority. He retired in 1994.
"His job, in addition to structuring loans, was to meet people, build relationships, go out to lunch and receptions, and talk," said his daughter. "It was a perfect blend of job responsibilities and aptitude. He had a blast. He was usually in the middle of a group, laughing, talking and telling stories."
Mr. Fitzpatrick served on the boards of the Loyola High School Alumni Association, Notre Dame Preparatory School, the United Nations Association of Maryland and National Council of Development Finance Agencies.
In the 1970s, he was treasurer of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Council and chairman of the Visitors Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Baltimore, as well as the chamber's sports committee.
Mr. Fitzpatrick read two newspapers daily, followed sports on television and attended basketball and lacrosse games.
He was the president in 1977 of Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Govans., where he was a past parish council president, incorporator, lector and finance committee chairman.
In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 49 years, the former Emily Keene; two sons, John Galvin Fitzpatrick Jr. of Baltimore and William O'Conor Fitzpatrick of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and three grandsons.