Mary C. Fitzgibbon (née Donohue), 84, (formerly of Glen Rock for 2.5 years and Dumont for 47 years) passed away peacefully on December 30, 2022 after residing at the Emerson Health and Rehabilitation Center since July 2022. Predeceased by her beloved husband Richard Fitzgibbon (2015). Loving mother of Richard Fitzgibbon and his wife Mary Malone, Kevin Fitzgibbon and his wife Melissa, Patricia Fitzgibbon and her husband Kevin Hsu. Devoted grandmother of Megan, Kristen, Nicole, Kjartan, and Lochlann. Dear sister of Ann Hogan and her husband Bob, and Margaret Kralovich. Predeceased by her brother Thomas Donohue, a sister-in-law, Grace Donohue, and a brother-in-law, Michael Kralovich. Also predeceased by in laws: Michael and Marie Donohue, Jim and Gloria FitzGibbon, Geraldine FitzGibbon, Eileen FitzGibbon, Sister Beatrice FitzGibbon O.S.U, and Matthew and Helen FitzGibbon whom she loved dearly.
Mary was born in New York City to Kathryn (née McKenna) and Thomas Donohue. Mary attended St. John’s Queens Hospital School of Nursing, Long Island City and received her degree as a registered nurse in 1957. She was a dedicated nurse for 40 years; the majority of which were at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J. As the employee of the month in 1987, Mary was described by her colleagues and patients as a “competent, gentle, kind and compassionate woman.” Mary proudly wore a pristine white uniform, immaculate white shoes, and her nursing pin while working the 11-7 overnight shift. She slept for a few hours while her three children were in school and then she devoted herself to attending her children’s sporting events and other extracurricular activities after school. She was an amazing mother who always put her needs last. Mary retired as a nurse in 2000, but she never truly gave up her passion for nursing.
Mary selflessly dedicated her life to her husband, Richard and took him on many adventures despite the fact that he had Alzheimer’s disease. She showered him with love and devotion and cared for him at home 24 hours a day for years. Mary continued her “private duty” nursing when she stayed with her husband, Richard for hours on end daily while he lived in a nursing home until he passed away. When Mary was ready to leave the nursing home for the day, she would always hold Richard’s hand tightly and say the Irish Blessing:
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
and rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand
Mary was a devout Catholic and a 47-year parishioner of St. Mary’s R.C. Church, Dumont. She loved attending this beautiful church. Mary was immensely proud of her Irish heritage and always looked forward to seeing the bagpipers march down the aisles of St. Mary’s Church for St. Patrick’s Day. She loved hosting traditional Irish breakfasts for her family, baking the most delicious Irish soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day, and then attending the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Bergen County. She listened to the news out of Ireland from Fordham University radio and read the Irish Echo to always keep abreast of Irish news. Mary would always play Irish music in the Fitzgibbon home. She instilled this love of Irish music with her children. Mary enjoyed dancing with her husband to great Irish ballads.
Mary could talk endlessly about medical issues with her son Richard, who followed in her big footsteps and also became a nurse. Mary and her son Richard always enjoyed late night conversations even when Richard forgot about the time difference between them. Mary was so excited when another Mary, Richard’s wife entered the family. She loved attending the Chieftains concerts and Yankee games with her son Kevin, gathering for a meal with her extended family at the River Edge Diner, and watching her granddaughters perform in shows. Mary was devoted to her young grandsons. She was the eternal optimist when talking about Patricia’s son with Down syndrome. Mary enjoyed going to the park with her grandsons and watching them play in the backyard. She was determined to keep walking with her grandsons even if she walked a little slower with her walker. Mary was always so proud of all her grandchildren’s accomplishments in college, high school, and elementary school.
In her final days, Mary smiled immensely while singing Christmas songs with Patricia and Kjartan. She listened intently while Lochlann read from his first grade poetry book. Mary cherished her Christmas visit with Kevin’s family. She continued to feel the love from her sisters Ann and Margaret with phone calls from her nursing home. Despite her dementia, Mary continued to look out for her friend in the nursing home. During the last dinner they shared together, Mary encouraged her friend to eat her dinner. She never gave up trying to help others. Mary knew she lived a great life and reunited with her husband in Heaven on December 30th, 2022. Her prayers were answered as she died peacefully in her sleep.
Mary was a special wife and mother. She was a devoted sister to her siblings and thoroughly enjoyed detailing their phone conversations in her notebooks. Mary was adored by her husband’s six siblings, their spouses and many nieces and nephews on both sides of the family. As a 47 year resident of Dumont, Mary thoroughly enjoyed the company of her neighbors and always greeted everyone with a smile as she walked around town enjoying simple pleasantries. She was fiercely independent and determined to problem solve even in the most challenging situations. Mary will always be remembered as an intelligent, compassionate, loving, and selfless wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend and nurse.
Visiting Thursday, January 5, 2023, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM at the Frech-McKnight Funeral Home, 161 Washington Ave., Dumont. Funeral Mass to follow at 11:00 AM at St. Mary’s Church, 280 Washington Ave., Dumont. Cremation is private. Repast at 12:30 Tommy Fox’s Public House, 32 South Washington Ave., Bergenfield.
Mary dedicated her life to helping others at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mary’s memory to: Holy Name Foundation at www.holyname.org