Fitz-Geralds celebrate 50 years of wedded bliss

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

With their children and grandchildren present, Dr. and Mrs. Maurice Fitz-Gerald will receive a reblessing of their marriage vows at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church for their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 22.

The Fitz-Geralds have lived in Demopolis for nearly 40 years. Better known in the community as Mo and Jo, the couple raised nine children: Maurice, Nita, Don, Mechell, Mack, Marlene, Cathy, Tim and Sean.

Mrs. Fitz-Gerald refers to raising her large family as “organized chaos.”

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“They were each other’s best friends,” she said, “and they still are.” There is a 17-year age difference between the oldest and youngest children.

Mrs. Fitz-Gerald was only 17 years old when she married the 19-year-old Springhill College freshman. Both from Mobile, Mrs. Fitz-Gerald said they rode the same bus home from school each afternoon, and eventually they started dating.

When Dr. Fitz-Gerald received his bachelor’s degree, Mrs. Fitz-Gerald was expecting their third child. When he graduated from the University of Alabama Medical School, she was expecting their fifth.

“It was extremely difficult,” Mrs. Fitz-Gerald said. During the first several years of their marriage, the couple lived with his parents in Mobile and in housing projects in Birmingham.

The family came to Demopolis in search of a small town where Dr. Fitz-Gerald could open a family practice. He has sustained Fitz-Gerald Clinic Family Practice in Demopolis for many years, and after raising their nine children, his wife worked in the office as a medical diagnostic ultrasound specialist.

Mrs. Fitz-Gerald said the secret to sticking together for 50 years is maintaining a sense of humor.

“You have to be able to laugh about things,” she said. “A lot of laughter, a lot of love and a strong belief in God.”

After the ceremony at St. Leo’s, the Fitz-Geralds, their nine children and 18 grandchildren will spend the day watching college football. They family and a few friends will enjoy a dinner party at 6:30 p.m.