Obituary: Joe Fitzgerald - star businessman, Commodore of the Royal Cork and a true gentleman

Joe Fitzgerald

Joe Fitzgerald who died on September 13, 2016, at the age of 94, was a man of very diverse activities — star businessman, Master of Slua Muiri in the 40s, Dinghy and Dragon sailor in the 50s and 60s — cruising man, Commodore of the Irish Cruising Club and Commodore of the Royal Cork in the 70s and 80s and friend and companion to all who knew him.

Widowed by Maddie in 1983 he is survived by his four children, Susan, David, Ian, and Pamela.

Joe, in his professional life set standards. He established what a true gentleman and father should be — inheriting the business from his father.

Fitzgerald’s was located on Patrick Street to the west of the Victoria Hotel and moved to the present address 25 Patrick Street in the late 40s.

Joe had a great eye for fabric and finish and acted as unofficial consultant advising other outlets in selecting fabrics. Among his more famous pupils was Louis Copeland who entrained to Cork apparently to learn the business. Company representatives enjoyed their visits and were entertained in the Chateau Bar or The Oyster Tavern. The host was affectionately known as Tiny Tailor.

Joe was part of small modern cruiser racing on Cork Harbour. His Trapper 28 Melesande was joined by four sister ship all finished from GRP hulls by George Bushe in the Rochestown Boat Yard. At the end of the 70s the fleet moved from 28’s to somewhat larger cruising boats the market was moving to a more cruising type of craft made interesting with Denis Doyle on various Moondusters. He was very much an instrument of the Irish cruising Club became “Commodore” in the early 80s having been Commodore of the Royal Cork with Denis Doyle, Admiral in 1971-72.

Joe’s last boat was the Blue Ketch Mandalay which would be seen about her business on Saturdays or Sundays and allowed his affection of the sea not to be inhibited by his advancing age. May he rest in peace.

Funeral arrangements are as follows: Humanist Service at 10:00 a.m. on Friday (23rd) at O’Connor Bros. Funeral Home, North Gate Bridge. Cremation afterwards at the Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy.


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