The Family Fitz-Gerald
The Fitz-Gerald name has been a hallmark in Niagara County for nearly half of the county’s history. This family of beloved doctors was comprised of Dr. R. R. B. Fitz-Gerald and his two sons, Dr. Dudley Fitz-Gerald and Dr. Braden Fitz-Gerald. Together, they served the medical needs of Lockport for nearly 90 years and were said to be the last doctors in Lockport to make house calls.
The medical patriarch, Dr. Robert Roland Braden Fitz-Gerald, was born in Canada in 1881. He received his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1905. His first medical practice was in Sanborn, later moving to Lockport in 1908, opening an office in the Farmers and Mechanics Bank (F&M Building), corner of Main and Market streets. He bought a house on Washburn Street which was long known as the Fitz-Gerald residence. In 1938, Dr. R. R. B. built the Medical Arts Building at 136 Walnut Street which remained the Fitz-Gerald offices for nearly 60 years. Dr. R. R. B. died in 1956 at the age of 75.
Dudley B. Fitz-Gerald was born in 1910, and attended school in Lockport, where he was President of the Lockport High School Class of 1928. He graduated from Colgate University and received his degree from the University of Rochester Medical School in 1936. He interned at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester and also served a residency in surgery at Memorial Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. He joined his father in 1939 in the Medical Arts Building on Walnut Street. In 1942 he received a commission in the Navy and served as medical officer of the 59th Construction Battalion in the Pacific theatre. He received a Navy Letter of Commendation for service in the invasion of Guam and was discharged in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Dr. Dudley Fitz¬Gerald died in 1971, at 61 years of age.
Braden Fitz-Gerald was born in 1912 and attended Lockport High School, was President of his junior class and editor of the school Forum for two years and graduated in 1929. He graduated from Colgate received his medical degree from the University of Rochester Medical School. He served his internship at Strong Memorial Hospital and New Haven, Connecticut. He performed his residency at the Genesee Hospital in Rochester and spent two years as an assistant in surgery, gynecology, and obstetrics at Yale University School of Medicine. He joined his father and brother in the Medical Arts Building in 1941. In World War II, Dr. Braden Fitz-Gerald reported for active duty in the Navy. He was awarded the Bronze Medal when he aided the personnel of his ship who were wounded when the ship was hit by an enemy bomb and sank within two minutes. He resumed practice in Lockport in 1946 with his father and his brother. He was an avid sportsman and made annual trips to Northern Canada for fishing, including a trip to the Arctic Circle. He also enjoyed sailing on Lake Ontario.
Dr. Braden served as chief of staff at Lockport Memorial and Mount View Hospitals. He was in such constant attendance at Lockport Hospital that sometimes he could be seen catching up on his sleep in a chair. He served as director of Eastern Niagara-American Red Cross and president of the Lockport Rotary Club, President of the Niagara County Medical Society, and served as a delegate from to the New York Medical Society. He was a director of the Lockport Chamber of Commerce and was made a Life Member of the Chamber in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Lockport.
Dr. Braden Fitz-Gerald joined the Niagara County Historical Society in 1961 and became a Life Member in 1970. He made many invaluable contributions to the work of the Historical Society, and a Medical Arts Room at the museum, housing much of his medical equipment, is dedicated in his name. Dr. Braden died in 2005 at the age of 92, ending a family legacy that spanned a century of love for medicine and love of Lockport.
Douglas Farley, Director
Ann Marie Linnabery
Erie Canal Discover Center
24 Church St.
Lockport NY 14094