Timothy's Story

STOCKTON SPRINGS - Fitz-Gerald, Timothy C: Tim Fitz-Gerald, 65, of Stockton Springs passed away March 29, at EMMC, with his sister, Leah, by his side. Tim was born on May 15, 1949 in St Louis, Missouri, to his parents Leah Van Riper Oliver (Fitz-Gerald) and Clark Battle Fitz-Gerald, who were just beginning their life long careers as artists. When Tim was a young boy the family moved to a house in Castine on Dyce's Head atop Winona Cliff, arguably one of the more beautiful spots along the Maine Coast. Tim grew up in an environment of art and creativity and culture. He attended the Adams School in Castine and graduated from Bucksport High School after attending The Cambridge School of Weston.

Influenced by his father's service in WWII where he had fought and was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, Tim decided to enlist in the US Army in a Warrant Officer Program with the intent of flying helicopters. It was 1968 and the Vietnam War was reaching its peak. He reported for duty in August of 1968 and soon after was informed that he would not qualify for the Warrant Officer Program due to a failure to meet all the physical requirements. He completed training as a helicopter gunner and in July of 1969 went to Vietnam. Tim served a full 13 month tour where he was awarded a Purple Heart, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and numerous Air Medals. At the end of his tour he suffered a head injury from being struck by the tail rotor of a helicopter. Tim was honorably discharged from the Army in August of 1970.

These two years of service would profoundly impact Tim for the rest of his life. For the next 28 years he lived an active, but troubled life in California between the high country of the Sierras and the San Francisco Bay area. No matter how hard he tried to overcome the experience from Vietnam, it was a battle that would not go away. After a long struggle with the VA over his injuries, he was declared fully disabled and left California for Maine in 2000. For the last 15 years he lived a quiet life in Stockton Springs where his world of many challenges slowly overcame him.

Tim was a young man of great potential always in search of his true self that sacrificed so much for a War that many feel was misbegotten from the very beginning. He is survived by his sister Leah, his brother Stephen, and his step mother Liddy. There will be a celebration of Tim's life Saturday, May 16, at 12 noon on Dyces Head in Castine at the Clark B Fitzgerald Studio. Please support the Maine Vietnam Veterans Scholarship Fund in care of The Maine Community Foundation in Tim's honor.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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