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Lynn Robert FitzGerald, age 93, of Grand Haven, formerly of Kalamazoo, passed away on May 9, 2018 in Spring Lake, MI. He was born on January 16, 1925 as Robert Fitzgerald to the late Lynn Allen and Dorothea (Fessenden) Fitzgerald in Kalamazoo, MI. In 1941, he legally changed his name to Lynn Robert, because there were too many Roberts in his class, although he was always “Bob” to family and friends. He also added the capital G in FitzGerald to reflect the original Norman-Irish spelling.
Lynn married his high school sweetheart Janice Avonne Walker in Kalamazoo on March 2, 1946. She preceded him in death on November 12, 2004 in Kalamazoo after 58 years of marriage. On April 8, 2006, he married Carol Boven of Hudsonville, MI, who preceded him in death in 2010. Lynn graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1943 and served as a radar technician in the 6613 Surface Warning Platoon Coast Artillery in Casablanca and Italy during World War II. As a mechanical engineer, he worked in the airplane division of North American Aviation in Downey, CA for 15 years before graduating from Northrup Aeronautical Institute in 1962 to begin work with North American on the Apollo project. Lynn helped build a 3D mockup for the command module and designed the capsule’s instrument panel. He also worked on remedying the problems of fireproofing the module. In 1971, he worked on Skylab briefly before being laid off and relocating to Pittsburgh, PA to be a field service manager for Westinghouse on subway equipment. From there, his career took him in 1977 to Streator, IL to work on railway track preservation for Teleweld, Inc. and on to retirement in 1990 as a packaging engineer for Kellogg’s in Battle Creek. In retirement, Lynn enjoyed volunteering as a docent at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and building classic model cars.
He is survived by his two daughters, Leslie (Rodger) Cunningham of Atascosa, TX, and Kerry Aileen FitzGerald of Nunica, MI; two sons, Scott (Veronica Chiang) FitzGerald of Placentia, CA, and Mark (Pascale Matte) FitzGerald of Phoenix, AZ; granddaughter, Jessica Sofia FitzGerald; brother, Donald (Diane) Fitzgerald (formerly of Mattawan, MI); sister-in-law, Ruth Fitzgerald; and several nieces and nephews, including Jeff Harms of Grand Haven. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Richard Fitzgerald; and sister, Barbara Fitzgerald (James) Sandell.
A Celebration of Lynn’s life will be held at a later date. Interment will be in the Columbarium at the First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo. Memorial contributions may be made to the Library for the Visually and Physically Disabled c/o Muskegon Area District Library Muskegon Area District Library, Administration Building 4845 Airline Rd. Unit 5, Muskegon, MI 49444-4503, or the Air Zoo, 6151 Portage Road, Portage, MI 49002.