From Bob Masland: As you know Carl Frank died in September 2022. We both met him at Ingalls rink during Freshman Hockey tryouts. Carl played Freshman and JV Hockey at Yale. A few years later he attended […]
I was saddened last year to learn that Mark Fitzsimmons had drowned in a riptide. Sharing the same entryway in McClellan Hall during our freshman year, we soon became friends, and, after graduation, remained in contact, usually by phone, over the years.
In the fall of 1968, it took me a few days to learn that the name of the student from the Boston area was “Mark”, rather than “Mack” His favorite song must have been “Do you believe in magic?” because he played it to us repeatedly. He also loved to use the expression, “Guts ball!”
While his name may, for many in our class, be associated with Yale hockey, I’ll remember Mark for his love of politics and law and his sense of humor. He served in the Massachusetts Legislature and was acquainted with George W. Bush, Michael Dukakis, Teddy Kennedy, and Bill Clinton. According to newspaper accounts, his drowning occurred on the eve of a major Democratic Party event that he had planned to attend.
Following his service as a legislator, Mark maintained a successful law practice in the Boston area. He represented a wide range of clients, from estranged spouses to municipalities. When I visited him years ago, we went from a city council meeting to his home, which he said he had purchased from “that crazy Bailey”. Mark later explained that he was referring to F. Lee Bailey.
In our final telephone conversation, early in 2006, I inquired of Mark as to whether, as an attorney in Massachusetts, he had yet handled any gay divorces. To which he replied, “No, but we’ve had somejolly divorces.”
At our 35th Reunion, we’ll miss Mark and his humor.
December 21, 1970. Mark Fitzsimmons picked up 50 saves against Harvard. It was the goaltender’s second of two back-to-back 50 save performances after he stopped 57 shots five days earlier against RPI.
Mark’s record for back to back saves continues to this day. When I asked Mark about the games, he remembered every goal and breaking his stick on the net after a Harvard goal and taking a penalty and they he laughed with that full belly laugh of a man who enjoyed life, folly and a good story.
Three years after graduation Mark ran successfully for a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and although he only served one term due to redistricting, he parlayed his time in the House into a law degree and a successful defense practice.
Mark was a good friend and a strong believer in supporting people through good and bad. When the warm sun of summer in New England is full, I remember sitting around the pool at Mark’s home, with a cold beer and a good tale. Adios Fitz.
Mark was the quintessential “one of a kind.” I have so many fond (and almost entirely humorous) memories of him. Not one of us who spent freshman year with Mark in McClellan Hall will ever forget the refrain, as he poured wastebasketfuls of water down the stairway from his fifth floor single, “More water, Fitz! The People want more water!” Let us raise our glasses high in his memory.
The legal profession may never be the same in Boston.
Along with our class, Massachusetts has lost a real character! He was larger than life in so many ways, anyone who ever met him might miss him now, even without having really known him.
I was discussing with Fitz, who was my friend throughout our Yale years and a roommate during our sophomore year, possibly attending the prom and, if we did attend, what our dates would expect us to wear. So, I asked Fitz if he thought we were expected to wear a suit. He thought for a moment and said, “Tommy, I’ve got only two suits, home and away [he was a goalie on the Yale hockey team], and I don’t think I can wear either one to the prom.” Classic Fitz.
William (Tom) Thompson
Share your Comments
You must be logged in to post a comment.