Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Peter Fitzpatrick, Honesty and Integrity

PEARL RIVER, New York (April 12, 2011)  — As a teacher of advanced placement physics, Peter Fitzpatrick's students were among the best and brightest at Ramapo High School.
Still, Fitzpatrick made sure the students he taught were clear about one thing from the start.
"He expected them to perform the best they could and to show exemplary honesty and integrity," recalled Principal Jean Field. "That's how he lived, and he expected the same from his students."
The youngsters whose lives Fitzpatrick touched spent much of Tuesday talking about their teacher and his death Monday afternoon in a motorcycle crash in Pearl River.
Fitzpatrick, 44, was pronounced dead soon after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a minivan that was attempting to make a left turn from Veteran's Memorial Drive into the parking lot of the Pearl River Hilton.
Orangetown police said the woman driving the car that collided with the motorcycle was identified as -------- ------, 52, of Spring Valley. She has not been charged.
Investigators are trying to determine how the crash occurred.
"We're all just numb," Fields said. "There is a very subdued spirit in the school today."
Fitzpatrick had taught at the school for 18 years and also served as dean of students.
He encouraged many students to pursue careers in the sciences. Many of his former students would visit him later and tell him how he influenced their career choices, Fields said.
His brother, Andrew, said the family was in a state of shock.
Peter Fitzpatrick grew up in Suffern, NY. He played football, lacrosse and track at Suffern High School, where he graduated in 1985.
Fitzpatrick and his wife of nine years, Teresa, lived in Pearl River with their two children, an 8-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter.
His family had gathered at his home to help his wife, said Andrew Fitzpatrick, who lives in Indianapolis.
Another brother, Michael, and his mother, Virginia, live in Massachusetts.
His father, Frank, a teacher and coach in the Nanuet schools, died in 1987.
Fields said that Ramapo High School would like to undertake an activity to honor Peter Fitzgerald, including, perhaps, a scholarship in his name.
The Assumma-Shankey Funeral Home in Pearl River is handling arrangements. The family will have visitors from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at the St. Margaret's School auditorium, 34 N. Magnolia St., Pearl River. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Margaret's Church in Pearl River.

by Jane Lerner,, a Gannett compnay serving New York's Lower Hudson Valley

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