Lives Lost to Covid-19: Anne Fitzgerald was a teacher with 'an infinite reservoir of love'

Anne was ‘a wonderful mother and grandmother’ and a ‘beacon of happiness’

Lives Lost: Anne Fitzgerald 1948-2021

Lives Lost: Anne Fitzgerald 1948-2021

 

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. You can read more of them here. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email liveslost@irishtimes.com

Anne Fitzgerald

1948-2021

Anne Fitzgerald touched the lives of hundreds of children during her 40 years teaching at St Columba’s Boys’ National School, Douglas, and St John’s Girls’ National School, Carrigaline, Co Cork.

Even after she retired from teaching, she volunteered with the Samaritans and spent long nights comforting those in need.

According to her son Rory, “Her heart was an infinite reservoir of love. She would instantly connect with each person she met – no matter who they were – and put a smile on their face and a glow in their heart.”

Anne Fitzgerald (née O’Connell) was born in Cork city in January 1948. In 1969, as a newly-qualified teacher, Anne met a young ship’s officer, Peter Fitzgerald, who was on shore leave in Cork city. They fell for one another instantly and married in 1972. They had three sons, Rory, John and Paul. “She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and my life sage,” says her son John. “A beacon of happiness and solace in so many lives. In a world not always so kind, she saw the best in everything and everyone.”

Family

Anne was always in close contact with her sisters, her wider family and her many friends. She delighted as her family expanded through marriage, when Rory married Andrea in 2008 and John married Kate in 2009. One of her happiest days was when her son Paul married his husband Scott on the shores of Loch Lomond in 2017.

In January 2021, Anne spent her 73rd birthday not a mile away from where she was born, but in Cork University Hospital for a minor procedure.

She celebrated that birthday with her usual good cheer, chatting to family and friends through video calls, while surrounded by pictures and cards made by her six grandchildren. She had been admitted to hospital for an operation.

Shortly after her birthday, however, she contracted Covid-19 in hospital and died of it within a fortnight. She was cheerful to the end, and died peacefully on February 13th.

In recent years, Anne’s six grandchildren had become the light of her life. Seán (11), Rose (10), Cillian (9), Emilia (6), Grace (6) and Aoife (2) have been left bereft by her untimely death. Anne remained close to her grandchildren even during the recent lockdowns, having video chats with each one every day and giving the older children regular online lessons when the schools were closed.

“The night I told my children that she was dying, they cried, we spoke and we embraced as the awful, devastating reality began to hit us,” Rory says. “Then, at one point, I suddenly saw my 10-year-old daughter with her eyes closed and the most profoundly happy, joyful smile on her face. I asked her what she was thinking of. She wrapped her arms tightly around herself and said, ‘I can still feel her hug, it was so warm.’”

Covid-19: Lives Lost

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