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Michael Thomas Fitzgerald passed away peacefully on October 26, 2023 at Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Born in Newport, Rhode Island on December 18, 1952 to the late Dr. Robert Fitzgerald and Dorothy (Waldron) Fitzgerald, Mike spent his formative years in Needham, Massachusetts. He was an avid athlete, student, and friend to many. It was in middle school in Needham where he first met his future wife, Betsey Hill. Mike graduated from Needham High School in 1971 where he played football and golf.
At Amherst College, Mike formed lifelong friendships that over the years became family. Mike excelled as a student-athlete at Amherst, earning All-Time and All-America honors in football and golf, respectively. While at Amherst, Mike was described by his classmates as the ultimate leader. He remained connected to the athletics department at Amherst for many years and was a proud Amherst alumnus. After graduating in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, he went on to work at IBM. When he left IBM to start at Harvard Business School, he reconnected with Betsey. After graduating from HBS, he and Betsey were married at Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville, Massachusetts in June of 1981.
Following HBS, Mike started his career in venture capital at Palmer Partners in Woburn, Massachusetts, where he gained invaluable mentorship and experience. In 1995, Mike became the founding Managing Partner at Commonwealth Capital Ventures. Under his leadership, the firm raised and managed four venture capital funds, investing over half a billion dollars with great success in nearly one hundred early-stage technology growth companies. Everyone who knew and worked with Mike was struck by his intelligence, business acumen, humility, and sense of humor. Above all he was a man of honor and integrity, with an unwavering moral compass that guided him to treat all those around him with fairness, generosity, and respect in all circumstances.
Golf was a lifelong passion for Mike, inherited from his Dad, Bob. Never settling for his already low handicap, he was always working to improve his game. He was known to give a lesson or tip on the course, but never too much guidance to allow his opponent to win. He was a competitor through and through. In high school and earlier years, he was caddy-master at Needham Golf Club and he knew every inch of the 9-hole course. In later years, he was a member at Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord, Massachusetts, Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Florida and was a current member at The Hyannisport Club on Cape Cod.
Above all, family was most important to Mike. He and Betsey made their home in Sudbury, Massachusetts where they raised their three daughters, Meghan, Kate and Molly. As a family they spent summers on Cape Cod and winters in the mountains of New England skiing with friends in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. In later years, Mike and Betsey split their time between their full-time residence in Centerville, Massachusetts; winter months in Fort Myers, Florida, where Mike continued to perfect his golf game; and Newburyport, Massachusetts to be close to their children and grandchildren.
Mike was a dedicated, kind, empathetic and dependable father to Meghan, Kate and Molly. He ensured they understood the value of hard work, and never let them wonder if he was proud of them. His dedication to his daughters easily grew as his family grew. Mike was exceptionally proud of his five grandsons, Mac, Sean, Gus, Finn and Robbie, who adored their “Papa Fitz”. And Mike was grateful for his three wonderful sons-in-law, Chris, Henry and Justin. Mike’s extraordinary generosity touched many, and provided a wonderful example for his family to emulate. His hospitality and fun-loving spirit toward friends of his, Betsey’s and the girls always made their home warm and welcoming.
In 2017, Mike’s symptoms of cognitive limitation became increasingly evident. Betsey cared for Mike at their home in Centerville for a number of years. The challenges Mike and Betsey faced were many, but were helped by an exceptional group of caregivers, who loved and cared for them like they were family. Betsey and their daughters are particularly grateful to Roberta, Carrie, Karen, Jasmine and Suzanne.
Mike is survived by his wife, Betsey, daughters Meghan Monaco (Christopher) of Essex, Katherine Barrett (Henry) of Freeport, Maine and Molly Climo (Justin) of Falmouth, Maine; grandsons Sean and Robert Monaco, Michael and Angus Barrett, and Finnian Climo; mother Dorothy Fitzgerald of Peabody; siblings Karen Fitzgerald of Swampscott, David Fitzgerald (Martha) of Bluffton, South Carolina, Annmarie McMahon (Brian) of Sarasota, Florida and Margaret McQuillan (Thomas) of Cotuit and brother-in-law M. Christopher Canavan of Wellesley. He was predeceased by his father, Dr. Robert Fitzgerald and sister-in-law Mary Hill Canavan. He was a cherished uncle, friend and business partner and will be missed by many.
Visiting hours will take place on Thursday, November 2nd from 4 to 7 pm at Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Ave in Needham, Massachusetts. The funeral service will take place on Friday, November 3rd at 11 am at Saint Joseph Parish, 1360 Highland Avenue in Needham.
Following the funeral, the Fitzgerald family invites family and friends to celebrate Mike’s life at The Needham Golf Club at 49 Green Street.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the New England Center and Home for Veterans http://nechv.org E for All http://eforall.org or Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund http://ouimet.org