Charles Raymond Fitzgibbons
Charles Raymond Fitzgibbons passed away on July 29, 2020, in Solon, Iowa, at the age of 89. He battled dementia and Alzheimer's for more than five years and experienced a rapid decline in health over the past six months.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Johanna Fitzgibbons; their five children, Ferron Coutentos (Beanz), Kathy Lamb (Karla), Laurie Hoyer (Jeff), Susan Murphy (Paul) and Paul Fitzgibbons (Tasha); 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Charles, aka "Chuck," "Papa Chuck," and "Cheerful Charlie -- Champion of the Good Guys" will be remembered for his quick wit, dedication to family, a passion for watching his children and grandchildren play sports, and the desire to strike up a conversation with anyone willing to engage.
Born during the Great Depression in Sioux City, Iowa, Chuck spent most of his childhood in Des Moines, where he was a devout member of the Catholic Church and started working at a young age to help his family make ends meet. He was drafted into the Korean War and served in the U.S. Marines before attending college at Drake University and eventually graduated from the University of Iowa.
Chuck moved to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in the late 1950s to be the personnel director at the state's Mental Health Institute (MHI) and served in that role for 29 years. Chuck met his future wife, Johanna, when she applied for a job at MHI. Inappropriate hiring practices still are under investigation, as she was hired as a kitchen cook with very little experience.
Johanna and Chuck were married in 1959, raised five children, and were heavily involved in the community and sporting activities. Chuck served on the Mount Pleasant City Council, played softball, coached Little League baseball, was instrumental in starting the town's girls' softball league, and developed his own unique golf swing.
Chuck and Johanna (also known as Grandma Joey) moved to Idaho in 1988 to take care of Joey's aging parents; they moved back to Iowa in 2006 and settled in North Liberty to be closer to family.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Solon Retirement Village Memory Care Unit are welcomed in recognition of the great care they took of Chuck, especially during these challenging times with COVID-19. Private family services will be held. To share a thought, memory or condolence with Chuck's family, please visit the funeral home website at www.gayandciha.com.