Fermilab lost a great asset and friend on March 31, when PPD/EED employee Tom Fitzpatrick unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack. He was 53 years old.
Tom graduated from the Wisconsin School of Electronics with an associate degree and started his 31-year career at the lab in 1982. He loved working at the lab and always joked about the fact that he was a Fermilab “lifer.” He enjoyed the informal atmosphere but quickly demonstrated that he took his work very seriously and could rise to whatever challenges came his way. Although he started as an electronics technician with a two-year degree, he later worked at the engineering level. His expertise, creativity, communication skills and ability to get the job done were widely known and respected throughout the laboratory.
Tom also had a very rich personal life and will be greatly missed by his family. He was married to his wife Luann for 24 years and had four children and several grandchildren. Luann described Tom as one who cared deeply about the people in his life, supporting and encouraging them to do their best. She acknowledged the huge role that he played in helping and allowing her to achieve her goals.
Tom was focused on quality and excellence in everything he did. He was a master brewer, very well-known and respected in the craft beer community. He loved to fire up his barbecue smoker, often preparing great meals to accompany his top-notch brews. He also gardened and transformed his family’s home and yard into something very special. His skills at disc golf, darts and bag throwing were formidable. Tom had a quick, sharp wit and a wonderfully cynical sense of humor. Those who knew him were quite familiar with his penchant for biting sarcasm and his insightful criticisms. He brought laughter and a unique spirit to the 14th floor of Wilson Hall that will be sorely missed.
—Tom Zimmerman, PPD