James Fitzpatrick may have moved from Park Slope years ago, but this holiday season, the neighborhood is showing it never forgets one of its own.
Five local bars are collecting money for Fitzpatrick’s family, after the 47-year old father of six died suddenly in August of a cardiac arrest.
“I am so humbled by what everyone is trying to do for me,” said Fitzpatrick’s wife, Beth. “It makes you feel good when you start to feel sad,” she continued. “There are a lot of people out there thinking good thoughts for us.”
Fitzpatrick, known as “Fitz,” grew up on Ninth Street and Prospect Park West, attended St. Saviour Elementary School, and later Xaverian High School. Shop owners knew him because he owned a heating and air conditioning business on Seventh Avenue, and local residents knew him because for years, he sold Christmas trees on Seventh Avenue. Friends knew him as a sweet man with a generous spirit.
“He was a great guy,” said longtime Park Slope resident Thomas Fagan, who helped initiate the collection. “My honest goal is to raise about $100,000,” Fagan said, but admitted the figure is a bit lofty. He said the collection boxes will be emptied on Dec. 19 and the money mailed to the family’s New Jersey home the next day, just in time for Christmas. “This is just neighborhood people helping a very hard situation,” Fagan said.
“We take care of our own,” added Betty Collins, the manager of Timboo’s Bar, which is collecting money for the Fitzpatrick family. “There are a lot of new people in the area, but the locals are still very close.”
Participating bars include: Jackie’s Fifth Amendment, 404 Fifth Avenue; Timboo’s, 477 Fifth Avenue; Excelsior, 390 Fifth Avenue;Ginger’s Bar, 363 Fifth Avenue; and Commonwealth, 497 Fifth Avenue.