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Thomas M. Fitzgerald Obit   

Death Claims Local Florist

Thomas Fitzgerald Died Suddenly Early This Morning.


Honest Efforts Were Rewarded By Large Business

Thomas M. Fitzgerald, aged 48 years, one of Beaver's most highly respected citizens and one of the leading florists in Western Pennsylvania, died suddenly at an early hour today at the family home in Sixth street, following an attack of acute heart trouble. When Mr. Fitzgerald retired last night he was apparently in the best of health and was in his usual good spirits. Shortly after midnight he awakened and complained of feeling ill. Less than an hour later he was dead, or before members of his gamily fully realized his critical condition.

Friends of the popular florist throughout the county were shocked today to learn of his sudden departure and members of the bereaved family have the sympathy of the entire community. Always courteous and obliging, Mr. Fitzgerald won the admiration of all who knew him. He was a thorough Christian and carried his religious efforts in his daily life. His treatment of employees and patrons was with the thought of brotherly love.

Born in Pittsburgh

Mr. Fitzgerald was born in Forbes street, Pittsburgh, February 27, 1868 and was the son of Thomas and Mary Healy Fitzgerald. His father and grandfather before him were gardeners and florists and had a natural love for the beauty of flowers. His father was born in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1846 [sic.], and came to this country when 25 years of age. He was gardener at the Dixmont hospital for several years and had charge of the greenhouses of a number of large Pittsburgh estates. The son's education was commenced in Pittsburgh and he was sent to Ireland to study for three years.

He came to Beaver with a fortune of one hundred dollars and from this small beginning built up one of the largest industries of the kind in this district. At first Mr. Fitzgerald leased the Dravo property and conducted greenhouses there for eight years, later purchasing the Campbell property in Fifth street, below Market street.

His Business Grew

Starting with one thousand feet of glass, Mr. Fitzgerald increased the greenhouses until at the present time there are over thirty thousand feet of glass covering 12 large greenhouses. Permanent construction of benches of concrete and other methods installed drew the attention of other florists and it is doubtful if there is more up to date plant in this section of the state. Because of the necessity of knowing the probable weather outlook to successfully cultivate plants and flowers, Mr. Fitzgerald made a study of weather conditions and this resulted in his observations frequently being more correct than those of the weather bureau.

Just at the time of his death the florist was making extensive arrangements for the annual chrysanthemum display at the greenhouses as well as preparing the bulbs and plants for the Easter products. His greenhouses were always open for the inspection of the public, especially on Sunday, but Mr. Fitzgerald refused to make Sabbath sales unless a matter of necessity.

Father Is Living

Mr. Fitzgerald was a member of the Pittsburgh and Allegheny Florist Association, the Horticultural Association of the United States and SS. Peter and Paul's Catholic church of Beaver. His wife, who was Nora, daughter of Jeremiah and Mary Miniham, survives together with these children: Catherine, John and Joseph, Helen, Anna and Agnes at home.

His father, Thomas Fitzgerald, Sr., also survives and resides in Sixth street, together with three brothers, John and Edward L. Fitzgerald of Erie, and James Fitzgerald of Pittsburgh.

Source: The Daily Times, Beaver, Pennsylvania, 14 Nov 1916, front page