Richard FitzSimons

Funeral Service

10:30 am
Saturday, December 2, 2023
St. Anthony Church
149 South Pine Creek Road
Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

Final Resting Place

11:45 am
Saturday, December 2, 2023
Oak Lawn Cemetery
1530 Bronson Road
Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
(203) 259-0458

Obituary of Richard J. FitzSimons

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Richard Joseph FitzSimons, born March 22nd, 1940, of Fairfield, CT, beloved husband of Kathleen Gay FitzSimons, entered eternal life on Thursday, November 9, 2023.


Richard was born in Jackson Heights, NY to the late Bernard and Genevieve Fitzsimons. When he was three, his mother left him to guard his two-year-old brother, Bernie, in a stroller while she briefly popped into a shop. Ever the optimist and explorer, Richard wandered off to ride the subway. Panicked, his Mom asked Bernie where his brother was. All he could say was “Itchie gone". Richie became Itchie. 


Itchie attended Most Holy Trinity in Brooklyn, NY, the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, and graduated from Fordham University.  He entered the US Navy Air Reserve in 1962. Told he embodied the necessary characteristics for a jet fighter pilot – “smart and half nuts" – he was asked to join Navy Pilot Training.  After serving, Richard became a licensed commercial pilot. He loved everything aviation. Once, while logging solo night hours in a Cessna 172, LaGuardia ATC ordered he increase his approach speed or abort, informing an Eastern 727 was closing fast. Itchie landed with a new perspective on flying. And life. As often too did Kathy when she’d join. 


Itchie had a successful and colorful 35-year career on Wall Street. He loved it. The people, the action, the comradery. His career started in 1973 in Cleveland, OH, hometown of his beloved wife. In 1980, Solomon Bros. moved Itchie back to the NY office; the family loved residing in Fairfield, CT. Later joining Bear Stearns, Itchie and friends would often hold court at Harry’s. On the train home, he could be found in the bar car working the left side of the poker table. His tells were untold. A member of the Fairfield Beach Club and past member of Patterson Country Club, he loved tennis, flying, Big Band era and Broadway musicals, especially the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and had a passionate love of college basketball. Apologies to the Pepsi-soaked gentleman at the ‘04 finals when UConn won it all. He also loved skiing, even when unintentionally riding the chair lift downhill.


He had a Jeopardy-esque memory with recall of the smallest, most colorful details. Ingrained with a refined sense of style from his father and having worked at a men’s clothing store during high school, Itchie took pride in dressing well. One Sunday in the late 80’s, friends – and family – were surprised when Itchie appeared in the NY Times annual Fashion of the Times for Brooks Brothers. Under protest to ‘model’, Itchie agreed on condition that in exchange for monetary compensation he be allowed to keep the camel hair polo coat. And shirt. And tie. And belt, shoes, collar stays, cuffs. He didn’t need socks.


Itchie had diverse loves: the sun, bug zappers, dogs (FaceTime only), butter (salted), lobster. But not lobster in the shell. Hated it. Something about refusing to fight with something that already lost. Quick with dry wit, Richard was a gentleman of unshakable convictions in politics and life, a devout Catholic and always a believer in the above. At a recent candlelight service, he set himself on fire. We have the jacket. What’s left of it. Richard loved deeply and achieved much, with many of those achievements kept quiet inside one of his double-breasted blazers. But Itchie’s biggest achievement was stealing time. In 2012, doctors told him he had 12-18 months; essentially, get your affairs in order. Itchie decided that’s just not how it’s going to be. 


With a loving and supportive wife, his treasured band of brothers, an endlessly innovative and compassionate team at Sloan Kettering and an occasional call of encouragement from Cardinal Dolan, Itchie devoted himself to the greater cause enrolling in numerous experimental treatments. Knowing this was a fight worth fighting, he played to win. With grit and bravery and humor, he robbed the heavens of 10+ years to better pack his bags with more memories with his wife, brothers, son, granddaughter – whom he adored – and all those he loved. No matter the length of hospital stays and hundreds of treatments, Itchie never complained. Never. Instead, he always found the good and somehow made those concerned feel good. Who knew hospitals had such delicious strawberry milkshakes. Optimistic, grateful, vibrant, fun, funny, a fighter, Itchie extended his adventure. He was on the inside of the joke and smart to know he was lucky. 


In addition to his devoted wife, Kathleen, who was truly the love of his life, Richard's memory will be lovingly remembered by his son, Ryan FitzSimons, of Rye Beach, NH; his granddaughter, Kennedy FitzSimons, of Bedford, NH; his brothers, Bernard (Nila), the late Michael (Mary Ellen), Dennis (Ann); and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Richard was predeceased by his daughter, Kimberly Anne FitzSimons, of New York, NY. 


To Dr. Marjorie Zauderer, Joe, the extended team at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and all those local and far who cared for Itchie, thank you. His additional time correlated to your compassionate care and belief in him. No combination of words can adequately express our gratitude.


Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, December 2, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. directly at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 149 S. Pine Creek Road, Fairfield, CT.  Interment with Full Military Honors will follow at Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fairfield.


Ever the patriot, we ask that in lieu of flowers, any memorial contributions be directed to one of Richard’s fondest charities, Tunnel to Towers Foundation: For travel directions or to sign his online guest register, please visit

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