Robert Eugene Fitzsimmons
Husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, World War II veteran, business owner and golfer, Robert Fitzsimmons was born November 1, 1921 in Gloversville, New York, the only child of John J. and Nellie E. (Bowler) Fitzsimmons. Bob’s youth was spent in Gloversville, Troy, Waterford and Watervliet, New York where he excelled in sports, running track and playing football for Gloversville High School.
Bob was married after high school and two daughters were born. In the early 1940’s Bob moved the family to Artesia, California where he attended college during the day and worked at Douglas Aircraft at night. In the midst of World War II, Bob joined the navy, and after graduating from the U.S. Naval Training Center in San Diego and Quartermaster School, he was assigned to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid. While aboard the Intrepid, Bob in his role as Quartermaster, navigated the ship, took bearings and created charts. The Intrepid was involved in attacks at Wake Island, arriving later at Eniwetok. After the surrender of Japan, the Intrepid was positioned along the coasts of Japan, China and Korea, supporting policing actions there until the crew returned home in December, 1945.
Returning to Gloversville Bob married Shirley Abbott, a native of Gloversville, in 1948, and they had two daughters. Bob was a licensed leather glove cutter, the trade of his father and grandfather, and he also owned a service station with his brother in law, but California was still Bob’s favorite place. In 1957 he relocated the family to El Cajon, California and worked in the auto parts business, owning several parts stores in San Diego, Valley Auto Parts and Progressive Auto Parts, as well as founding Coast Auto Parts in Carpinteria, CA. In the mid 1980’s, Bob retired, but found he needed more to do. He was hired as part of the grounds crew at San Diego’s Miramar Naval Air Station golf course. The perfect combination, working outside and playing golf. He retired for a second time in 2000, and Bob and Shirley moved to Santa Barbara to live with their daughter and son-in- law. In Santa Barbara he continued to play early morning golf with his new golfing buddies, take Shirley on shopping excursions and out to lunch, and work outside in the yard.
Bob, Dad, Bobpa, Grandpa will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by his family. We will always remember his funny sayings, (“three men in the boat and the oars leak”), his blue eyes, his love of sports and of licorice, and his great love for his family. Robert is survived by his wife of sixty years, Shirley; two daughters, Cheryl Jensen and husband, Gary of Santa Barbara, CA and Jill Wylie and husband, Robert of Tehachapi, CA; two granddaughters, Jessica Laine and Cameo Martin; and great grandson, Aiden Kosling. In addition, he is survived by two daughters from his previous marriage, Colleen Poindexter of Walnut Creek, CA and Susan Barron and husband, Harold of Weddington, North Carolina; two granddaughters, Laura Fensterstock and husband Sam, and Lindsay Haggarty and husband Chris; great granddaughter Mackenzie Fensterstock, and great grandson Cooper Fensterstock.
Services and interment will be at the gravesite at El Cajon Cemetery, 2080 Dehesa Road, El Cajon, California on Thursday, May 15 at 11 am with a reception to follow. In addition, a memorial reception will be held at Mulligan’s Cafe at the Santa Barbara Municipal Golf Club on Saturday, May 17 between 1 pm and 3 pm.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Russ Morrison Junior Golf Program, 3500 McCaw Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93101, or to the Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Santa Barbara, 222 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.