John K. “Jack” Fitzsimmons, age 91 passed away in Waseca on August 14, 2020. He died of natural causes in the house where he was born on September 15, 1928. Jack was determined to be carried out of his childhood home “feet first”; being both Irish and Norwegian he did get his wish.
The son of Malcolm & Florence Fitzsimmons, Jack was one of 14 children. Jack spent most of his life in Waseca. He graduated from Sacred Heart School in Waseca and also spent his childhood in Good Thunder, and Mankato Minnesota during the Great Depression. Jack attended the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul and then worked construction in Thule, Greenland. A Korean War Veteran, he honorably served in the U.S. Air Force in Japan as an avionics technician on the B-36 bomber.
Jack was a life-long truck driver, he started driving a farm truck at age 13. At age 16 he got his commercial truck driving license to haul German Prisoners of War to and from New Ulm during World War II. After working in Greenland, he moved back to Waseca where he returned to truck driving. Jack started his own company, Fitzsimmons Trucking, which he operated with his wife Betty from 1973-1992. They also owned The Creamery restaurant in Otisco from 1983-1993.
Jack was an avid hunter and fisherman. He took numerous fishing trips into the Canadian wilderness. He loved Alaska where he enjoyed fishing, travelling, and while in his seventies drove a semi to the northernmost point of the Pan American Highway, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Also in his seventies, Jack traveled by boat on a Mississippi River adventure with three friends starting in La Crosse, Wisconsin and ending in Corpus Christi, Texas, travelling 2,100 miles in 21 days.
Jack had a love of travel and enjoyed meeting new people, cooking, reading, telling stories, hosting parties, spending time with his family and watching the Minnesota Twins. Jack & Betty enjoyed many winters in Port Aransas, Texas. They also traveled throughout northern Europe, Australia and New Zealand, with Ireland being his favorite destination.
Jack served as a Waseca County Commissioner from 1974-1988. He was active in the Waseca VFW, National Association of Counties, American Trucking Association, and the Region 9 Transportation Development Commission. He was a member of Sacred Heart Church and the Waseca American Legion.
Jack had a big smile and was blessed with the Irish Gift of Gab. Age was only a number to Jack. On his 90th birthday, he threw himself an epic party at the Waseca VFW.
Jack is survived by his children Patricia Helming, John Fitzsimmons, and Erin Fitzsimmons. Stepchildren Debbie Schmitt, Sherrie Reese and Mike Bjerke. 11 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, his brothers Richard Fitzsimmons, Bill Fitzsimmons, Jim Fitzsimmons, his sisters Lois Johnson and Karen O’Rourke. He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Betty, stepdaughter Jacquelyn Bjerke, siblings Marion Honey, Jean West, Francis Fitzsimmons, Mary Lou Sotebeer, JoAnn Pehrson, Marjorie Root, Kathryn Fitzsimmons, and Shirley Fitzsimmons in infancy.
A public visitation will be held on Friday, August 21, 2020 from 4-7 PM at the Third Street Chapel of Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services in Waseca. Due to COVID-19, a private family service will be held. Interment will take place at Calvary Cemetery in Waseca. The family prefers donations to the Waseca VFW Post 1642 and Sacred Heart School. Condolences for the family can be sent to P.O. Box 606, Waseca, MN 56093.
A Celebration of Jack's Life - Open House - will begin at 6:00 PM on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at the Waseca VFW.