Celebration of Life
Obituary of Mary Esther Caire Fitzgerald
Mary Esther Caire Fitzgerald was born on the 13th of December 1929 in New Orleans, LA. She died on the 9th of January 2021 after lengthy struggles with several illnesses including osteoarthritis and dementia. She was the only surviving child of the late Raymond Joseph Caire and the late Clare Bell Caire. Growing up as an only child due to her mother’s illnesses and the stillbirth of a younger brother, she overcame the concern by others that her only child status was an extravagance, and she persevered to acquire many friends. She was also very devoted to close family friend and caretaker, the late Mrs. Anna Lee Reed. She married Raymond Richard Fitzgerald in 1952 and they were married for 52 years until his death in 2005. She was the mother of the late Raymond Richard Fitzgerald, S.J. former president of Jesuit High School. She is survived by her daughter, Lucy Fitzgerald Smedstad; son-in-law, Ole Martin Smedstad; and grandchildren, Katarina M. Smedstad and Andre K. Smedstad.
Mrs. Fitzgerald was a graduate of Dominican High School and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1951 from Loyola University of New Orleans. She obtained a Master of Education in 1956 from Loyola while also teaching in various Catholic and public schools in New Orleans. In addition to academic pursuits, she was incredibly talented at sewing, knitting, needlepoint, cross stitch, and tatting.
She was a member of the Loyola University faculty from 1956 until 1995 as an Associate Professor in the Education Department. She spent many hours counseling and guiding students to ensure graduation success. For eight years, she chaired the Education Department and remained on faculty afterward. The department continued to flourish with her continued participation in teaching and had one of the highest enrollments in the school during that time. Mrs. Fitzgerald was also a member of the committee that led to the founding on an onsite day care center at Loyola. She was a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation consultant and received an Archdiocese Educator Award in 1983.
Mrs. Fitzgerald was a resident of New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She moved to Dallas, Texas for seven years where she was adopted and loved by many including Berta Montes, Linda O’Mahoney, and Mary Whitaker and their beautiful families. She returned to Louisiana in 2012 and resided in Slidell, reuniting with close friends including the late Steve Gahagan, Gabrielle Pointer, and Carola Jacob. In addition to family and friends, she was very devoted to a multitude of colleagues and former students including the late Dr. George M. Doss, the late Sheila Potts, Valerie Smith, Lisa Moorman, Mary Ann Baird, Dr. Octavia Kennedy, Kenneth LaFrance, Carmen Butler, Hazel Hearty, Clive Comeaux, Sr. Maureen Little, Curtis Jones, Fr. Rodney Ricard, the late Dr. Alvin Aubry, the late Dr. Hilda Smith, Carol Cortazzo, Catherine Sparacello, and her very loyal colleague Sara P. Attaya. Her greatest professional satisfaction came from the success of her students.
The family would like to thank Oak Park Village of Slidell and Interim Hospice, in particular long-standing caregivers Trenna Hayes and Antonette Taylor.
A private Funeral Mass will be held on the 15th of January 2021 at 9:00 a.m. Please join us via zoom link at:
Meeting ID: 870 2978 1556
A gathering will be held post-pandemic in New Orleans, LA for a final interment and celebration of life. Please send an email to email@example.com to request notification of details. Donations may be made to the Raymond R. Fitzgerald, Sr. & Mary Caire Fitzgerald Full Education Fund, Jesuit High School, 4133 Banks St., New Orleans, LA 70119. Memories and condolences may be expressed at www. AudubonFuneralHome.com
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