May 6, 1938 — June 16, 2019
GLENS FALLS — Peter Doherty FitzGerald, 81, passed away on June 16, 2019 at the family home in Glens Falls.
Peter, the second of three sons of Edmund J. FitzGerald and Mary McManus FitzGerald, was born May 6, 1938 in Troy. His earliest years were spent in Manhasset, until the family moved upstate and settled in Fayetteville, where his father was an officer with the Niagara Mohawk Corporation.
Peter graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High in 1956. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Le Moyne College in 1960. While at Le Moyne, he spent two summers in Quantico, Virginia with the United States Marine Corps in the Platoon Leaders Class. After graduation from Le Moyne College, Peter was commissioned in the United State Marine Corps as a 2nd lieutenant. Peter’s active duty was deferred so he could attend law school. Peter received his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1963 and was admitted to both the New York State and The District of Columbia Bar Associations. Throughout his life, Peter remained very connected to his friends from his youth in the Syracuse area.
Following his education, Peter went on active duty with the United States Marine Corps and completed a 3 year tour. Peter served in Okinawa, Japan, and with the First Marine Division in Chu Lai, Vietnam. As a captain with the Judge Advocates Group, Peter served as both a trial lawyer and defense counsel for the General Courts-Martial. Peter identified himself as a proud Marine throughout his life.
Upon returning to the United States and while stationed in Quantico, Virginia, he met the love of his life, Mary-Elizabeth “Mimi” Toohey, in Washington D.C. Peter and Mimi went on a blind date on New Year’s Day in 1967, and so began their great adventure together.
After completing his Marine Corps service in the spring of 1967, at the urging of his father, Peter joined the law firm of LaPann and Reardon and moved to Glens Falls. Peter and Mimi were married on Sept. 16, 1967 in Westport, Massachusetts, with a reception at the Naval Officers Club in Newport, Rhode Island. Following their wedding, Mimi joined Peter in Glens Falls, where they would reside for the next 52 years.
Peter was a gifted communicator and storyteller. As such, he had a robust law career and never grew tired of litigating.
He thrived in private practice as a trial lawyer, and in 1971 became a partner with the law firm of LaPann and Reardon. Throughout the years, the law firm broadened and became LaPann, Reardon, FitzGerald & Firth.
In 1990, Peter and three attorneys, Peter Firth, Robert Morris and Carl Baker, formed the firm of FitzGerald, Morris, Baker, and Firth, where he continued his practice until his retirement in 2005.
Peter enjoyed broad participation in the legal community throughout the state. As a young lawyer, he served as the Warren County Assistant District Attorney. He was an active member in the Warren County Bar Association, where he served as president and was named director emeritus in 2010. Additionally, he served as president of the Warren County Bar Association’s Foundation, which raises money for young students to attend law school.
He was also involved in the New York State Bar Association, where he was a member of the House of Delegates, served as vice president of the New York State Bar Association for the Fourth Judicial District, served on multiple Executive Committees and was appointed as chair for the State Bar Association’s Committee on the Jury System from 2003-2006. He was a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and served as the president of the Capital District’s Defense Research Institute.
Peter loved Glens Falls and was very active in the community. He served for three years as president of the YMCA and co-chaired their general fund drive for the capital expansion project and creation of the “new Y.” He served on the Board of the Tri-County United Way as both president and chair of their annual campaign. He was a past commander of the American Legion and a life member of the Marine Corp League. He was an active member St. Mary’s Church, where he taught CCD and served as chairman of the Finance Committee. Peter worked for the expansion of Crandall Library and he took great satisfaction in delivering Meals on Wheels.
Peter loved an active lifestyle and took every opportunity to play sports and compete with his family and friends. With Mimi, he enjoyed adventure and possessed a genuine interest in culture. Together, they traveled extensively throughout North America, Asia, the Pacific and Europe, with Italy as his favorite destination.
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His true lifelong passion was the game of golf. Peter was an avid golfer and an active member of the Glens Falls Country Club for 48 years, serving as president and on the Board of Governors. He loved playing golf with friends and family, the lessons the game teaches and the stories shared on the course. Over his lifetime, Peter managed to card five holes-in-one, which he attributed to Irish luck.
Peter’s greatest joy was his family. He was a devoted spouse, parent, grandparent, brother and uncle. He thrived in the role of coach and advocate, taking great pleasure and an active interest in the lives of his family.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mimi; his daughter, Deirdre FitzGerald Fabbro, her husband, Mark and their two children, Eleanor and John, all of Hingham, Massachusetts; and his son, Andrew Doherty, his wife, Lee Harmon and their daughter, Kate, all of Los Angeles, California.
He is survived by his two brothers, Thomas “Deak” and his wife, Holly, of South Carolina and Edmund of Rock Hill, South Carolina, with whom he enjoyed lively golf matches and political discussions.
He had a special relationship with his brother-in-law, Michael J. Toohey of Saratoga Springs, with whom he shared legal guidance and advice as well as a valued friendship.
Peter’s warmth, humor, intelligence and open heart were evident to all that knew him. He is a devoted and cherished friend who will be greatly missed.
He courageously fought Alzheimer’s disease for many years. He was at home for the duration of his illness with the help of two devoted and loving caregivers, Sarah Haight and Pam Woodward.
The celebration of his life will be as follows:
Interment at 9:30 a.m. on Friday June 21, at Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, 200 Duell Road., Schuylerville.
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 21, at Singleton Sullivan Potter Funeral Home, 407 Bay Road, Queensbury.
A memorial service will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, at Our Lady of the Annunciation Roman Catholic Church, 448 Aviation Road, Queensbury.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the North Eastern New York Chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org/northeasternny.
To leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.sbfuneralhome.com.