Michael Lee Fitzsimmons, 61, of Dannebrog, originally of Cedar Rapids, Nebraska passed away on Friday, April 16, 2021 at his home with his family by his side, due to Pancreatic Cancer. This disease has allowed me time to write my own obituary with a few adjustments from my family.
Visitation will be from 4-6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Farwell, Nebraska. A Rosary will follow at 6:30 P.M. at the church.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Farwell, Nebraska. Father Alex Borzych & Father Rayappa Konka will be presiding. Following Church Services an excellent meal will be provided at the Farwell Firehall. Burial will be at 2:00 P.M. Friday, April 23, 2021 at Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell, Nebraska. Memorials are suggested to the Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, Dreams for Veterans, or St. Anthony’s Parish. Jacobsen-Greenway-Dietz Funeral Home in St. Paul has the honor of assisting the family.
Was born on the last Friday the 13th of arguable the best decade ever 1959; 11-13-1959. My parents are Richard Lee Fitzsimmons and Maurine Louise (Steffes) Fitzsimmons currently of Fullerton, Nebraska. I was the oldest of three children, so I was expected to set the example, which I struggled with. But my Sister, Rebecca Hillman and my Brother, Patrick Fitzsimmons, turned out alright. Very pleased they did not follow my lead, which means Mom & Dad did an excellent job. Predominantly grew up on the family farm which I truly believe helped establish my work ethic. Attended a few grade schools: Howard Elementary School and St. Mary’s Cathedral in Grand Island, Nebraska (I do remember the sore knuckles I received from that yardstick, which I might also add I deserved!); Fullerton Public School in Fullerton, Nebraska; Cedar Rapids Public School in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska and Wolbach High School in Wolbach, Nebraska which is where I graduated from in 1978.
Joined the U.S. Navy May of 1978 under the delayed entry program and shipped off to boot camp August of 1978 which was in San Diego, California. Following boot camp, I attended Boiler Technician School in Great Lakes, Illinois. My first sea going command was the USS Guadalcanal LPH-7, stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. Following that tour, I got out of the Navy and made a go of it on the outside. Finding steady work was rather difficult during that time frame. That is also when I met the love of my life, Beverly Kay Ambrose. I knew right off that I needed to find stable employment, so I could take care of her, so I reenlisted in the U.S. Navy. After my reintegration in the Navy, which took place in San Diego, California I took orders to USS Goldsborough DDG-20 station in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After getting established in Hawaii, I asked Beverly to be my wife and lucky for me she said YES. We were married July 14, 1984 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Elba, Nebraska by Father Tom Ryan. We then flew to Hawaii where we spent the next 8 years enjoying the wonderful weather of Hawaii. We were blessed with two wonderful children Erik and Tonya while stationed in Hawaii. Following my tour on the USS Goldsborough we took orders to Fleet Training Group in Pearl Harbor. Our next command was in frigid Great Lakes, Illinois. We transferred in February so going from warm and sunny Hawaii to Great Lakes was a little bit of a shocker. While stationed at Great Lakes we were blessed with our 3rd child, Bryan. Following our tour at Great Lakes we took orders to USS Nimitz, CVN-68. After the around the world cruise on the USS Nimitz we took orders to Recruiting Command in Omaha, Nebraska. We were stationed in Grand Island and Kearney while recruiting for the U.S. Navy. The plan was to retire from the U.S. Navy following this tour. While attending Transition Assistance Program (TAPS Class) at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, while getting ready for the class to start, they had the television on without any sound when we saw the first plane fly into the New York Trade Center Towers. By the time the second plane flew into the other tower the base was going into lock down. Upon return to my Recruiting Station in Grand Island we were told to take a low profile until we had a better understanding on what was happening. Following 9-11-01, I reenlisted and took orders to the USS Boxer, LHD-4 stationed in San Diego, CA. I felt like I needed to be part of our country’s response to this cowardly act. I retired from the U.S. Navy on the 30th day of September 2003. Following retirement from the U.S. Navy, I was employed by Wolbach Foods for just under a year. In October of 2004, I started working at NWIHCS (Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System). While employed at NWIHCS I can honestly say that I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best folks in the country taking care of us Veterans.
My cancer treatments took place at CHI in Grand Island. Words cannot express our gratitude towards the Staff on how we were greeted and treated every time we walked through those doors. Even if I wasn’t having a stellar day, they always made me feel like I was their only patient. Which by the way is NEVER the case!
One thing that I truly enjoy is working with wood, would like to say I was a fair wood butcher. The better half would come up with an idea and then I would head out to the shop and make it happen; and with a few adjustments, the final product turned out rather good. Also enjoyed working with my hands in the flower & vegetable gardens.
There are many things to be proud of in my life, one would be my service to this country by serving in the U.S. Navy. Having had the opportunity to serve with many outstanding individuals, many of which I consider to be my Brothers & Sisters. That said, the love of my wife and our three children top the charts. There are no words to express how proud of each of you I am! Each one of you have exceeded my expectations on becoming wonderful, caring and responsible adults! Stay focused and true to yourselves. Love Dad.
To my wife, Beverly, my apologies for checking out early; the good Lord has other plans. Sure, hope there’s a challenge involved, you know how I do not like to sit still and get bored rather quickly. Will most definitely miss our cuddle conservations, road trips, and Saturday afternoon drives. Ever since seeing you at the top of the stairs in Columbus I knew then and there you would be the love of my life. Watch over yourself as well as our children and grandchildren. Reminisce of what we did with our lives, don’t look back with any regrets. Could have never loved anyone more then I loved you. You are my soulmate, compass and pillar which allowed us to live our lives as well as we have. Look forward and live your life well and just! XXXOOO Love always! XXXOOO
Survived by my wife, Beverly Fitzsimmons, of Dannebrog, NE; my children, Erik (Rachel) Fitzsimmons of Wahiawa, HI; Tonya Fitzsimmons, of Offutt AFB, NE and Bryan Fitzsimmons (and friend, Katie Mayes) of Grand Island, NE; grandchildren, Lillian & Tristan Fitzsimmons of Wahiawa, HI; parents, Richard and Maurine Fitzsimmons, of Fullerton, NE; sister, Becky (Harry) Hillman, of Villa Ridge, MO; brother, Patrick (Natalie) Fitzsimmons of St Edward, NE; mother-in-law, Esther Ambrose of St. Paul, sisters-in-law, Michelle Boyle of Australia, Barbara Ambrose of St. Paul, NE, Linda Ambrose of Yutan, NE; brother-in-law, Craig Ambrose of St. Paul; numerous nieces and nephews.
Family members preceding in my death are my grandparents, William & Pearl Fitzsimmons and John & Ona Steffes; father-in-law, Milton Ambrose; brothers-in-law, Carl Ambrose and Joe Ambrose.
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