Terence James Fitzwater died on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 in Corpus Christi, Texas surrounded by family, following a brief illness.
He was born July 3, 1957 to Henry and Judith (Kronberg) Fitzwater in Phoenix, Arizona and grew up around Grand Rapids, Michigan, the eldest of five siblings.
A graduate of Wyoming Rogers High School, Central Michigan University, and Rutgers University School of Law, Terry worked in newspapers for nearly 40 years, where he was an editor, general manager, and publisher of local newspapers across Michigan, as well as New Mexico and Texas. Most recently, he was the publisher of the Kingsville Record in Kingsville, TX. His newspapers, editorials, and photos won numerous journalism awards, and he served on many boards of state and local press associations as part of his way of providing leadership and mentorship to the field.
Terry was a passionate believer in the importance of a free and robust press to be a force for good in both a community and our democracy. He championed and led local events to strengthen his community, and spotlighted the stories of those serving our country, especially World War II and Vietnam War Veterans. He built strong and diverse relationships throughout his communities to ensure that his papers were relevant, and was a proud member of the Elks and Rotary International. He was also a member of St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church in Kingsville.
He lived passionately and to the fullest: he loved to travel and explore the world, study history, enjoy sunsets, follow sports (especially University of Michigan football), watch movies, visit National Parks and museums, play games and trivia, and listen to live music. Terry's lifelong passion for auto racing also inspired his creation and publication of the Michigan Racing Scene newspaper, and its sponsored awards for local racers and announcers.
While his career drove his days, his greatest joys came from laughing with friends and especially his family. Anyone who met him knew how proud he was of his kids and grandkids. Terry made friends quickly everywhere he went, and they could always count on him for help, a joke, a beer, a wave of his U of M keychain, or another story about his kids and their families. These stories are what his family and friends will hold and treasure as we remember the man we all loved.
Terry is survived by his four children: Stephanie (Mark) Arduini of Seattle, Washington;, Joshua (Chelsea) Fitzwater of St. Louis Park, Minnesota; Leslie LeBlanc of Gaylord, Michigan; and Joseph (Gabrielle) Fitzwater of Reston, Virginia; and six grandchildren: Henry and Eleanor Arduini, Louis and Elizabeth LeBlanc, and Theodore and Sebastian Fitzwater.
Also surviving are his siblings, Sharon (Greg) Bartman, Lori (Victor) Brooks, Amy (Chris) Loftis, and Michael Fitzwater; Teresa (David) Milliman Fitzwater Brandell; his uncle Charles Ray (Lois) Fitzwater; many nieces and nephews, and numerous cousins.
A celebration of Terry's life will take place at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Terry's name to the National Parks Foundation or the Folds of Honor Foundation.
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