Remembering ‘Uncle Charly’
Remembering 'Uncle Charly'
I am hoping that you will print this in memory of my brother Charles F. X. Fitzpatrick. The Fitzpatrick family has been subscribers to The Wave for over 60 years. This will be a human-interest story since Charly was well known in The Rock.
My brother Charly was the number three son of my parents Clara and Thomas A. Fitzpatrick. The four Fitz's as we were called: Tom, Paul, Charly and Bill.
We were all born and raised in Belle Harbor. Charly, as we all did, graduated from St. Francis De Sales. Charly went on to St. John's on a scholarship. He was the starting center on the football team and played on the same team as Al McGuire and under the venerable Coach Herb Hess.
After graduation Charly joined the Marine Corps. After two years of service Charly was honorably discharged. Charly then got a vocation to enter the priesthood and went through the rigors of the Maryknoll Fathers for ten years. For whatever reason Charly lost his vocation right before he was to be ordained a priest.
Back in Rockaway, now living with mom and pop, he became a teacher. He was a founder of the De Sales Club, a social club sponsored by the parish. It was at the Club that he met Joan Soden, whom he married. He and Joan bought a house in Larchmont, N.Y., where his children Tracy and Brian were born and raised.
After many years of marriage, unfortunately "The Torch" went out, and Charly and Joan separated and later were divorced.
At Charly's wake I was wondering where all these young men came from? It turns out that over the years he used to pile them all in his stationwagon and take them skiing upstate N.Y. I listened to many of the stories the boys told about Uncle Charly (as they affectionately called him), and those harrowing drives through the snow up to ski country. His two nephews, T.A. and Arty Fitz, the Geheraty brothers, Shevy and a number of others whose names I cannot recall, all said that those were some of the best times they ever had with Uncle Charly.
I moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1996 and after my wife passed away in 1997, I would spend my summers with Charly and we had great times together going to Snug, Kennedy's, Jamisons, and especially on his porch on 135 Street where we would have all our friends, T.A., Arty, and all the Egan clan to hoist a few and tell stories well into the night.
Charly died suddenly and unexpectedly on July 29 at the young age of 75. He will be sorely missed by his children, brothers, nephews, nieces, and especially his young friends who came to his wake and funeral to bid farewell to Uncle Charly.
PAUL P. FITZPATRICK