Connie Fitzgerald, passed away peacefully at her home after a seven year battle with ovarian cancer on January 25, 2019. She was Spirit in Action’s Operations and Finance Director for the last 10 years, working through mid-December 2018. Connie was the backbone of Spirit in Action, the glue that made sure everything was working smoothly. She will be so missed.
I first met Connie about 35 years ago when she was writing checks for Peace Development Fund to grantees like me at Piedmont Peace Project in North Carolina. Eleven years later, she became my co-worker at Peace Development Fund in Massachusetts, when I went to work there in 1996.
Even then, her sweet nature was supportive of me trying to figure out how to create budgets for proposals and reports. With loving kindness, she would support me to spread my wings and fly while having the ability to bring me back to earth when I tried to fly a little too far!
We shared our love of the work for justice, our dogs and chickens, plants, gardening and visiting nurseries, and very quickly became good friends. In addition to plants and gardens, we shared our love of food – especially Southern! We got to share our Southern roots.
When she came to work at Spirit in Action in 2007, our friendship blossomed. We went on trips together for work, always finding interesting places to stop – mostly nurseries – along the way. No matter where I went, whether I was talking to someone in the bank, a donor, a contractor or a volunteer, everyone asked about Connie and spoke about how much they appreciated her. She touched everyone she came in contact with.
Now, I keep picking up the phone to call her: “You can’t believe the bird I just saw!” or “My umbrella plant is sick,” or what to do about a problem at work. She would celebrate joyfully when I shared nature tales, remind me the umbrella plant is really a Schefflera arboricola and tell me what it needed, and help solve the work problem with equal attention.
Connie was one of the gentlest, wisest, unpretentious and strongest people I ever knew. She was my co-worker, mentor, confidante and best supporter. Most of all, she was my dear friend. She has left a hole in my heart and in Spirit in Action.
Peace, Power & Love