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In Memoriam

Cora Mae Fitzgerald
Cora Mae Fitzgerald

The Virginian-Pilot, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005

Portsmouth - Cora Mae Fitzgerald, 87, of the 3600 block of Cedar Lane, died Dec. 19, 2005, in her residence. A native of Portsmouth, she was the daughter of the late Charles R. Fitzgerald and Ebbie E. Lawrence Fitzgerald.

She retired as a teacher for the Portsmouth Public School System.

She was also a member of Jolliff United Methodist Church, Portsmouth Retired Teachers Association, DKG Sorority and a volunteer at Maryview Hospital.

A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday in Sturtevant Funeral Home, Portsmouth Blvd. Chapel, by her friend, Ervin R. Johnson and the Rev. Waverly Smith.

Burial will be in Olive Branch Cemetery. Friends will gather at the funeral home Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made to Jolliff United Methodist Church or EDMARC Hospice for Children.

Our beloved English teacher Cora Mae Fitzgerald died at home 19 December 2005 at 5:30 AM. Her funeral arrangements are being managed by Sturtevant Funeral Home, 5201 Portsmouth Boulevard, Portsmouth, VA 23701 (757-488-8348) Services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, December 22, 2005 at Sturtevant Funeral Home in their chapel. Interment will follow at the Olive Branch Cemetery in Portsmouth. A visitation for Miss Fitzgerald’s friends will be held on Wednesday evening between 7 and 8:30 PM at the funeral home.

From Bernie Kirsch, '57:

As a tribute to Miss Fitzgerald, I offer the poems printed below:

Love Is Not All
Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
and rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
pinned down by need and moaning for release
or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be. I do not think I would.
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Though I am Dead
Though I am dead, grieve not for me with tears
Think not of death with sorrowing and fears
I am so near that every tear you shed
Touches and torments me though you think me dead
But when you sing and laugh in glad delight
My soul is uplifted to the light
laugh and be glad for all that life is giving
And I, though dead, will share your joy in living.

This last poem comes from Rumi, a prolific thirteenth century Indian poet. He wrote 12,000 poems in
the last 12 years of his life. This one is dated 1206 AD. (300 years before Shakespeare did his stuff.

I saw Grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, "It tastes sweet".
"You've caught me", Grief answered, "and you have ruined my business.
how can I sell sorrow, when you know it is a blessing?"

When you want to talk to Cora Mae Fitzgerald, she will listen. She could be
anywhere in the cosmos and if you chose it to be so, she will live in your heart.

bk (December 19, 2005)
From Mansfield Holmes, '61:

Ms. Fitzgerald was much more than a teacher to me too. She kept me on the straight and narrow, long after leaving school. She persuaded me to take a long and arduous journey with the government which turned out OK, now that it's over of course. I will always have a warm spot in my heart for her because she taught me not only about english but so much about life in general.
Thanks again.
From Shirley Ferrell:

Gail, I also got a card. I was so excited. I am very sad to hear that she is gone. But, I am glad that I will see her again when we get to Heaven. She was a wonderful person and teacher. She will be greatly missed.
God bless,
From Julia Cahoon Jernigan, '55:

Thanks for the message about Ms. Fitzgerald. I did not know. We were so happy that she was doing well enough to attend our 50th class reunion in October. She made the best of life and passed it on.
Julia Cahoon Jernigan
From Sarah Liddle Bledsoe, '56:

I was stunned by your message that Cora Mae had died because I, too, had just received a card from her on Monday. As if that were not enough, yesterday I got another card from her--double wishes and reminders of what a great lady she was.
As I thought back about Cora Mae and the part she had played in the lives of so many of us, I was reminded of words that I had seen when one of my friends died. I have no idea who wrote these. I wish I could have been as creative as Alma, but these were all I could come up with.

Write not on stone or wood 'She was honest' or 'she was good.'
Write instead on a passing breeze,
Seven words and the words are these,
Telling all that a volume could:
She laughed,
She loved, and
She understood.

I am grateful that Cora Mae was part of my life way back in those days when I was a young, green English teacher and a few years later, guidance counselor. She always had a word of wisdom and a smile to help me through those times when I needed a teacher and a friend.
I hope that all those Admirals who go to her service will laugh, talk of how she changed their lives, and then go out and continue to do good things. That would please her because I know that is a teacher's greatest desire--that our students are able do good things.
Love to you at this wonderful Christmas season and in 2006. Thanks for keeping our Admiral network in touch.
Sarah Liddle Bledsoe (Sarah Wood)
From Johnny Bolduc, '62:

I never had Ms. Fitzgerald as a teacher, but I was in her homeroom, my first year at Cradock.
As stated in your testimonials and poems she was a great" LADY" and surely will be missed by all who knew her.

Johnny Bolduc
From Mavis Daniels Tompkins'52:

Thank you for letting us know about MS. Fitzgerald. She was "tops" in our class, as well as so many other classes. She will be missed.
 I have "flashed" the 1952 classmates.
 Mavis Daniels Tompkins ('52)

From Alma Brown Hall:

Cora Mae Fitzgerald was not a wife, or a mother, or a sister, or a grandmother; but she was all those things and more to thousands of students whom she taught and coached during her classroom and counseling career. The many ways this teacher touched our lives stand as a testimony to this family she helped create in the Cradock community in the 50s: we asked her advice about our love lives (she gave her wifely best), she tended to our manners and insisted on complete decorum (in her motherly way), she laughed with us and cried for us and loaned us her shoes (sisters do that), and when she was old enough to be our grandmother, we were older than grandchildren, so we laughed some more--and she was proud of our lives because they enriched her life.
Thanks, Cora Mae (You see, I can call you by your first name after all!)
Alma Brown Hall