Gordon R. Fitzgerald (commonly known as Fitz), owner of Kwik Kopy in Houma, passed away of a heart attack on August 31, 2021, in Gulfport, MS. He was on his way to an Alabama hospital after being evacuated from Terrebonne General Health System following Hurricane Ida.
Fitz was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, on September 5, 1945, son of Robert and Lois Fitzgerald. Throughout his school career, his passion was baseball. After graduating from Davenport High School, he joined the Army and was sent to Fort Walters, TX, for basic training. Knowing he didn’t want to serve boots on the ground, he chose to be a helicopter pilot receiving his training at Fort Rucker in Alabama.
Following graduation, he was assigned to the 116th Assault Helicopter Company in Cu Chi, Vietnam, where he served for two years. He was shot down twice and received the Purple Heart for his heroic efforts. After serving in Germany, he was discharged with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.
His helicopter training would serve him well as a “crop duster.” He worked his trade for a short time in Florida, moved to Wisconsin, and was hired by Reabe Spraying Services for the next eight years. He spent years spraying for Gatzke and Leach Farms out of Berlin and Coloma, Wisconsin. He met his wife, Jerrie Dahl, when his friends encouraged him to meet a nice lady at Sentry Foods. After dating for two years, they were married on April 14, 1984. The marriage came with a ready-made family which included the children Stephanie and Matthew Dahl. He treated them as his own, teaching Matthew to fish and honing Stephanie’s Algebra skills.
It came as no surprise to Jerrie when Fitz mentioned that he wanted to pursue an air med position in Houma, Louisiana. After training with Petroleum Helicopters, Inc, he worked with Acadian Ambulance flying the Air Med Ship from 1989-2009. Many stories of saving lives were retold with his group of Acadian Ambulance medics: Mark Fryou, George Swendel, Kevin Brennan, Mike McCoy and John Falterman. He treasured those friendships.
At the age of 63, after some heart issues arose, he retired as a pilot and bought the Kwik Kopy Business Center on Main Street in Houma. Printing everything from raffle tickets, cookbooks, blueprints, business invoices, to nursing home newsletters kept him busy. He trained his workers on how to always greet the customer. His graphic artist, Lauren Mayet, became someone he relied on always. Randy, the mailman, also became his best friend.
Fitz became a charter member of the Sunrise Rotary Club and served as Sergeant at Arms. He recruited many new members and had a perfect attendance record. He was thrilled to be given the “Rotarian of the Year” award for 2020-21.
Gordon and Jerrie attended Grace Lutheran Church where he served as usher, scripture reader, and elder assisting Pastor Rudnik for many years. He enjoyed working the silent auction at Grace’s Fall fest which raised monies for local charities. Gordon and Jerrie’s 25th wedding anniversary was celebrated at Grace Lutheran in 2009, with family and friends.
Fitz was an active member of the Bearded Collie Club of America. He printed the BeaCon newsletter that was sent to Beardie owners around the world. He himself owned three Beardies: Charlie, Coleen and Jolie Belle. In addition, he had a red Irish Setter Buzz and an English Cocker named Karot.
He is survived by his wife Jerolyn (Jerrie), his son Matthew Dahl and wife Heather, and two grandchildren, Harleigh Kay and Jonathan Dahl; Brothers: Bob (Jan) Fitzgerald, Mike (Ann) Fitzgerald, Doug (Peggy) Fitzgerald, Dave (Marianne) Fitzgerald; sister Connie Brandon; Sister-in-law Myrna (Bruce) Breier; brother-in-law Mark (Carrie) Radl; Nieces and nephews: Robin, Jenny, Randy, Chris, Brett, Andrea, Carrie, Deborah, Kaitlyn, Conner, Erin, Caroline, Megan, Lindsay and Alex.
He was preceded in death by his parents Bob & Lois Fitzgerald, infant sister, Carol Jean, and daughter, Stephanie Lynne Dahl.
A celebration of his life will be held at 11 am on Saturday, November 6, 2021, at Grace Lutheran Church in Houma, Louisiana. Visitation will begin at 9:30 am. Following the services, there will be an Irish wake from 12:00 to 3:00 at The Eagle’s Nest, 100 Eagles Nest Court, off of Highway 311. Please stop in for a sip of Irish Whiskey or a cold brew while sharing fond memories of Fitz as you enjoy a light luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his name to the Terrebonne Churches United Foodbank in Houma or to Grace Lutheran Church.
The family would like to thank the J.T. Hall Funeral Home in Gulfport, MS, and the Chauvin Funeral Home in Houma.