The Bronx and Yonkers Irish communities are in deep mourning over the tragic death of 21-year-old Paul Fitzpatrick, who died on Sunday morning, July 17, after his Jeep overturned on the Sprain Book Parkway after sideswiping a car and striking a tree, causing his vehicle to catch fire.
When paramedics arrived on the scene at around 9:45 am, Fitzpatrick was deceased. Because of the fire, first responders were unable to immediately remove him from the vehicle.
The loss of Fitzpatrick, the third child and only son of Pat and Catherina Fitzpatrick, both originally from Co Cavan, has been deeply felt in the Irish community. In addition to his parents, Fitzpatrick is survived by his two sisters Grainne, a 2022 New York Rose of Tralee contestant, and Niamh. Both of his sisters are very involved in the St. Brigid’s ladies Gaelic football club, whose members attended a candlelight vigil for Fitzpatrick on July 19.
In his youth, Fitzpatrick attended Irish dance classes at the Deirdre O’Mara School of Irish Dance based in Yonkers.
A funeral Mass said by Father Brendan Fitzgerald took place at St. Barnabas Church in the Bronx on Saturday morning, July 23. He was laid to rest at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
**Obituary - Paul Anthony Fitzpatrick, RIP** We are deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of Paul Anthony...Posted by Aisling Irish Community Center on Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Fitzpatrick’s obituary said in part, “Paul will be remembered by his beautiful smile and gorgeous green eyes. His first love was his mammy and his second love was cars. He was the twinkle in his dad’s eye and the best gift ever given to his sisters. He would do absolutely anything for his friends – day or night.
“Paul was raised in Yonkers, New York where he attended PEARLS Hawthorne School, Salesian High School, and graduated from Archbishop Stepinac High School in 2019.
“Paul was a hard worker from birth, he was out shoveling snow when he was 3 years old and went around to all the neighbors every year graduating from shovel, to quad, to plow. When he was maybe 10 years old he used to get Dad to drive to Pennsylvania to buy fireworks to sell to the neighborhood kids.
“Paul was highly intelligent. When he first started talking he spoke in full sentences. When asked ‘what is your name,’ he would respond, ‘My name is Paul.’
“As smart as he was, Paul wasn’t the biggest fan of school, but he could fix or drive any bike, car, or truck. He couldn’t wait to get his license and proudly bought his first Mercedes at 17 years old. He didn’t mind picking up the boys and driving to school then.
“Never wanting for money, Paul started doing the restaurant depot runs when he was 12, delivering boxes of foods and ingredients with Dad and Pat McKnight to the restaurants in the city. People would remark on who this small little boy was carrying big boxes in and out from the van to the kitchens – he didn’t say much then, just put his head down and worked.
“Paul helped wherever he was needed, he helped set up Irish dance stages for feiseanna with Mike Reidy, he poured concrete with Skyview Concrete, and he spent many summers working at Keaney Auto with his aunt and uncle Susan and John, truly honing his mechanical skills.
“Without surprise to anyone Paul earned his CDL license at 18 years old. He passed his crane operator exam, written and practical with 100 percent passing rate. Older men around him couldn’t believe it, but it was no surprise to anyone who knew him. He spent the last year working day and night at 24/7 Lifting Inc. as a rigger and crane operator. Without a doubt in any of our minds he would have had his own crane in a few years.
“Around the house Paul was known as Little Precious, Mammy’s little baby boy, or little baby Pauly. Whenever his cousins would come over he would take them on rides around Mile Square Road on the quads and bikes, smiling constantly. You could always find Paul and the lads in the garage working on cars and bikes, or simply having the craic.
“Paul was a very funny kid and could make anyone laugh with his quick witty remarks. Paul was so generous and would pick out the most thoughtful cards and gifts for his mom and dad and sisters every Christmas, birthdays, and Mother’s and Father’s days. He would bring flowers home to his mom randomly and do whatever job needed to be done around the house. His dad was especially proud of him when he set up the outdoor seating at the new Crooked Knife on 2nd Avenue with meticulous detail. In other words, it was perfect, just like him.”
*This column first appeared in the July 27 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.