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Barry Fitzgerald

September 3, 2007 12:35 am



Barry Fitzgerald

Barry Fitzgerald, who traveled the world as a photographer for the U.S. Information Agency, died Saturday, Sept. 1, 2007, at his home in Fredericksburg. He was 63 and died of cancer.

Mr. Fitzgerald worked for the Information Agency, known as USIA and now part of the State Department, from 1984 until his retirement in April 2007. His assignment was to provide pictures of Americans at work and play that would help tell America's story to the world. He traveled throughout the U.S. and to India, Pakistan, Central America, Mexico, Africa and China.

He majored in photojournalism at the University of Missouri, graduating in 1966. Following college, Mr. Fitzgerald and his wife, Ruth Coder Fitzgerald, served as Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines, teaching elementary school and helping to start a community newspaper in the town of Aparri.

After the Peace Corps, the Fitzgeralds moved to Fredericksburg, where Mr. Fitzgerald went to work as a reporter and photographer at the city's daily newspaper, The Free Lance-Star. He soon moved up to full-time photographer and later became chief photographer. During his time at the newspaper, his work earned numerous awards from professional groups, including the Associated Press, national and Virginia press photographers organizations, Virginia Press Association and Pictures of the Year and Southern Photographer of the Year competitions. In 1976 he left the newspaper to work as a freelance photographer, a job he held until he joined USIA.

Mr. Fitzgerald was a key supporter of his wife when she wrote her book, "A Different Story: A Black History of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania, Virginia." He also had a major role as Ruth Fitzgerald led the successful national campaign to get an "In Memory Plaque" placed at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. The plaque honors U.S. military who fought in Vietnam and died later of non-combat causes. Her brother, John Coder, was a war casualty of Agent Orange.

A soft-spoken man, Mr. Fitzgerald enjoyed fishing, kayaking, yard sales, song-writing and motorcycle riding.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Fitzgerald is survived by a daughter, Rebecca Lipscomb and her husband, Bert; a grandson, John Alexander Lipscomb, of Birmingham, Ala.; a brother, Jerry Fitzgerald and his wife, Cindy, of Stone Mountain, Ga.; and his mother, Barbara Craig, of Lakeview, Ark.

A memorial service for Mr. Fitzgerald will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, in the 800 block of Charlotte Street in Fredericksburg.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Smile Train, Box 96231, Washington, D.C. 20090-6231, and Friends of the Rappahannock, Box 7245, Fredericksburg, Va. 22404.

Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.