Sad news to report. Long time Roosevelt Island resident and pioneering member
of the New York Police Department Mary Eileen Fitzgerald passed away
yesterday. According to her obituary provided by the
John Krtil Funeral Home:
Mary Eileen Fitzgerald (January 17, 1923 – May 19, 2021)
On May 19, 2021 Mary Eileen Fitzgerald, pioneer resident of Rivercross,
passed on to her reward at 98 years of age. After signing a lease in 1976,
she eventually moved into Rivercross. At that time Mary was still working
for the New York Police Department (N.Y.P.D.). In 1952 she was sworn into
the Department and was considered a pioneer in the field of police work for
women. In 1952 there were not many female officers serving the City of New
York. She and the other policewomen were called trail-blazers. She herself
had never seen or heard of women police prior to her entrance into the
Police Department. A friend, referred to by Mary as her “angel friend”,
encouraged her to take the entrance examinations which she met with success.
Until approximately 1969 policewomen were not permitted to take promotional
exams just because they were women. The only way women were given
recognition for dedicated and professional police work was by appointment to
the grade of Detective as a promotion, which Mary achieved.
Mary was a life-time resident of New York City, having been born in the
Bronx to parents who immigrated from Ireland. She was the only survivor of
four children, and unfortunately her father died suddenly in 1938 in the
heart of the Great Depression. With the values instilled by their father and
with their wonderful mother at the helm, they survived the Depression. They
had learned from both parents the values, the confidence, and the will to
prepare them for life. They were taught by example always to “give back” to
friends, their community and to great causes.
After Mary retired from the N.Y.P.D. in 1983, she remained active in
volunteer work on Roosevelt Island and also in Manhattan. She volunteered
for the Cabrini Thrift Shop, the Homeless Shelter at Good Shepherd, the R.I.
Historical Society, St. Frances Cabrini Parish and Byrd Coler Hospital
Auxiliary. She also volunteered for Catholic Charities preparing layettes
for needy mothers-to-be, at memorial Sloane-Kettering Hospital, the Mary
Manning Walsh Home and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
In 2018, Mary was recognized as a New York State Woman of Distinction
by the New York State Senate. She is survived by her nephews, Peter, Mark,
and Vincent; a niece, Jeanne; two grand-nieces, Lauren and Marissa
Fitzgerald; and a grand-nephew, John Fitzgerald. The Quality of Mary’s Life
was extended by her loving caregivers: Maritza, Blanca, Kamo, Shalini.
Visitation will be at John Krtil Funeral Home on Sunday May 23, 2021 from
2pm-5pm & 7pm-9pm. Mass of Christian Burial 10AM on May 24, 2021 at St.
John Nepomucene Roman Catholic Church (66th St & 1st Ave). Interment to
follow at St. Raymond’s Cemetery Bronx, NY at 11:45AM
*En lieu of flowers donations to the St. Francis of Assisi Breadline, which
has been distributing food to the Homeless on a daily basis since 1930, may
be sent to St. Francis of Assisi, 135 West 31st Street, New York, NY 10001
as a Woman Of Distinction.
Born in the
#Bronx, she spent over 30 years serving NYC & paved the way for the more than
6,000 female officers active today. Had a great time visiting her today on
— Senator Jose M. Serrano (@SenatorSerrano)
January 17, 2020
Here’s the June 27, 2018 Woman Of Distinction award ceremony for Ms Fitzgerald.
Ms Fitzgerald was truly an inspiring pioneer in so many ways.
Happy 97th birthday to this pioneer in policing!
We wish retired
2nd grade Detective Mary Fitzgerald the happiest of birthdays.
— NYPD 19th Precinct (@NYPD19Pct)
January 17, 2020
For 31 years she served the City of New York as one of the first female Police Officers & she just celebrated her 97th Birthday!
We’re honored to celebrate with retired Detective Mary Fitzgerald over a nice cup of tea, cake, & some amazing stories. A true pioneer for women! pic.twitter.com/pyVmSYjz4P
— NYPD 19th Precinct (@NYPD19Pct) January 21, 2020
Before heading off to work, Mary Fitzgerald typically checked her oversized
handbag: Keys. Makeup. A .38-caliber revolver.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews)
January 18, 2018
Condolences to her family, NYPD colleagues, friends and neighbors.