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Dr. Sheila Mary Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

September 13, 1931 ~ February 22, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old

Dr. Sheila Fitzgerald, Ph.D. Obituary

Dr. Sheila Mary Fitzgerald, Ph.D. passed away peacefully on February 22, 2024, at the Sholom Residence in St. Paul, MN. She was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN on September 13, 1931. She was preceded in death by her parents, William A. Fitzgerald and Kathleen R. Fitzgerald, her sisters Rosemary Anne Morris and Kathleen Maura Terrien, and her brothers Judge John M. Fitzgerald and Judge Patrick W. Fitzgerald.

She is survived by her brother Michael J. Fitzgerald (Lois) of Mound, MN, many nieces and nephews, and numerous friends.

Sheila graduated from Rochester, MN high school in 1949 and received her undergraduate degree in English from Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest, IL in 1953. From 1955 through 1969, she was employed by the Minneapolis Public School system as an elementary classroom teacher, instructor in a demonstration school, television teacher, in-service teacher in language arts and math, and a helping teacher for probationary teachers. Thereafter she earned two masters’ degrees and her doctorate degree at the University of Minnesota, completing her doctoral thesis in 1972. In 1972, she was hired by Michigan State University to teach English language arts courses at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. In 1983 she became a full professor at MSU and held that title until her retirement in 1997.

While at Michigan State, and during her retirement, Sheila traveled extensively visiting more than twenty countries. She had international teaching assignments for the College of Education at MSU from 1974-1988 and taught courses in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Ireland, Guatemala, Hong Kong, England, Singapore, and Australia.

Sheila has published fifty articles, a dozen book chapters, and served on numerous national committees in the field of education. As a professor at Michigan State, she played a major role in shaping the careers of hundreds of teachers, and she was the driving force in language arts education and educational reform as the President of the National Council of Teachers of English and as the President of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English, as well as during her many years of leadership in a wide range of national and state organizations.

A very special thank you to friend Brad Anderson, niece Katie Otto, niece Brigid Fitzgerald, and niece Beth Scott, for their kindness during Dr. Sheila’s declining years. An additional thank you to the staff at the Sholom Residence who treated Sheila with such care and respect. A celebration of Sheila’s life will be held on Tuesday, February 27 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 1405 HWY 13, Mendota, MN. Visitation at 9:00 am; Mass at 10:00. The burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Rochester, MN. Memorials preferred to Catholic Charities Twin Cities, Kathleen Moonan Fitzgerald scholarship fund at Dominican University or Catholic Relief Services.

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