Deceased October 26, 2023
We lost our good friend Michael “Mike” Fitzgerald on Oct. 26, 2023. A memorial was held on campus Homecoming Saturday, just ahead of the football game. Fond memories of Mike over the past 50 years were shared by the many friends and classmates in attendance.
Fitzy was a special guy—extraordinary in so many ways as a friend, husband, father, grandfather and businessman. He had been battling CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) for the past seven years, and though his decline was steady, his family and close friends were able to enjoy time with him throughout.
I first met Mike in the fall of 1971, about a week into our freshman year, when a bunch of us were gathered in the basement of Stearns dorm. I remember when Mike walked in and held court as only he could. Not showy or loud, but in a way that drew others in. I thought to myself, I have to meet this guy. We would become friends for life.
When Mike graduated in 1975, he went to work for IBM before attending Harvard Business School. He went on to success in venture capital, eventually starting his own firm, Commonwealth Capital.
He had a wonderful marriage to Betsey (Hill), and they had three daughters, Meghan, Kate and Molly, and five grandsons. The girls considered themselves Mike’s “curveball in life” and kept him on the straight and narrow.
Mike played both football and golf at Amherst and captained both teams. But golf was special. Taught by his dad, Mike lived all the discipline and integrity that golf demanded. In his last few years, golf would bring a group of us together—old, good friends. Those were special times and special relationships.
I don’t think we’ll ever play golf again without thinking of Mike. The memories that he gave us in golf and in life will live on.
David Hixon ’75