Santa Fe’s Luck of the Irish

Terry Fitzsimmons 1931 -2021.

Terry Fitzsimmons died last Wednesday, November 25th. Santa Fe had been his adoptive home for almost thirty years. Fitzsimmons retired to Santa Fe in 1992 after a successful real estate career in San Diego. He had moved from New York to California at the age of 45 after working for many years at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. An avid hiker, Fitzsimmons loved New Mexico’s diverse terrain. In addition to participating in many outdoor activities, Fitzsimmons stayed active. He worked as the president of the local chapter of AARP from 1998 to 2000. He also volunteered at several nonprofit organizations in Santa Fe.

The Will to Live

Fitzsimmons was born at Fitch Sanitarium in the Bronx in 1930. He was the youngest, and the only one of the 11 children of Bridget and Terrance Fitzsimmons to be born in the United States. Fitzsimmons’ father immigrated to New York in 1928 with his three eldest children. His mother arrived the following year with the rest of the children.  Soon after moving to New York, Terrance Fitzsimmons contracted tuberculosis. He had six months to live, but managed to survive until 1939. The Fitzsimmons family had immigrated to the United States from County Cavan, Ireland, which is located 60 miles from of Dublin.    

Power Memorial Academy

Fitzsimmon’s path as an immigrant in the United States was similar to that of many students who attended Power Memorial Academy. The school was founded in 1909 by Monsignor Power of the All Saints Parish in New York City. It became an all-boys school of primarily Irish immigrant students. Formerly called All Hallows, the school began on West 124th St. in Manhattan and later moved to 164th St. and Walton Ave. The school became Power Memorial Academy when Monsignor Power died in 1926. In 1938 the school moved again to accommodate its growing enrollment, to West 61st street. It was at that location that the school finally closed in 1984 because of financial problems.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Fitzsimmons became involved with the St. Patrick’s Day parade when he was six years old and continued the tradition in school. All of the students at Power Memorial Academy marched in the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the world. More than 150,000 marchers took part as close to two million spectators lined the streets of Manhattan.

Tragic Memory

A tragic memory for Fitzsimmons occurred on March 15, 1948 when the school band was practicing for the parade. A deranged man by the name of Marko L. Markovich came by with a gun and started shooting. One student was killed and six others were wounded. The school band did march in the parade that year. During the solemn walk no music played and the school flag and drums were draped in black. That event shock the city. The New York Times ran a front page story on the incident. Both President Harry S. Truman and New York’s governor, Thomas E. Dewey attended the parade in memoriam that year.

Please support Ana Pacheco's work at:

Buy Me a Coffee

Our nation’s history would not be complete without the story of Santa Fe. Experience the ultimate Santa Fe tour with local historian Ana Pacheco.