Kate FitzGerald, teacher at Shipley, W. Phila. High

Kate FitzGerald
Kate FitzGerald
Posted: August 10, 2014

Kate FitzGerald, 64, of Wayne, a teacher, died Monday, Aug. 4, of a brain tumor at her home.

Born in Dublin, she studied history and archaeology at University College Dublin.

Later, as a married mother juggling life as a student, Mrs. FitzGerald learned quickly that Ireland in the 1960s was hard for young families with little money. The family had to scrape to get by, and she used her ingenuity to create a suitable home, her family said.

The FitzGeralds moved among London, Nashville, Dublin, Philadelphia, and Rome.

The family finally settled in Wayne, where she began a career in education. First, she worked in the gardening program at the Shipley School, leading students to multiple awards at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Then she embarked on a long career at West Philadelphia High School, teaching English and history.

"She imbued her pupils, often from very deprived backgrounds, with her love of history and her fluency with the language," her family said.

She took into her classroom school supplies and buckets to catch leaking rainwater, argued for her students in court when they were in trouble, and "too often" attended their funerals, her family said.

Her work attracted awards from the city, the respect of her colleagues, and the love of her pupils.

She traveled widely and celebrated her 60th birthday with her husband, Garret, in their apartment in Rome.

"Kate FitzGerald was a selfless person, endowed with artistic, culinary, pedagogic, and horticultural talent," said her relatives in a tribute. She was devoted to her family and students.

Besides her husband, a Philadelphia-based medical researcher, she is survived by sons John and Hugo; a daughter, Genevieve; two sisters; and three brothers.

Services were Friday, Aug. 8.

Donations may be made to Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, 328 Upper Gulph Rd., Radnor, Pa. 19087.



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