The residents of St. Jacques-Coomb’s Cove and adjacent towns celebrated their 2012 Come Home Year in August. A highlight of the event was the visit of descendants of Dr. Conrad Fitz-Gerald, a medical doctor who lived and worked in St. Jacques in the early 1900s.
The Fitz-Gerald family was recognized by the town of St. Jacques-Coomb’s Cove at a luncheon held in their honour on August 8th. Mayors from Hr. Breton and Belleoram joined Mayor Mayor Max Taylor of St. Jacques-Coomb’s Cove in paying tribute to the legacy of the locally revered Dr. Conrad Fitz-Gerald who practiced medicine in Fortune Bay for sixty years.
Two people currently living in St. Jacques, Alex Hickey Sr. and Burnsie Lawrence, still carry childhood memories of the “good doctor” and were able to share tangible recollections of him with the visiting family members.
Reginald ‘Tom’ Fitz-Gerald, his daughter Leslie and son Conrad were presented with copies of a book written by now deceased St. Jacques author Allen Evans, titled, “The Splendour of St. Jacques”. Singer/songwriter Bud Davidge presented the family with copies of his latest Cd, “Back to the Bay”, a recording released to commemorate Come Home Year in the town. Mayor Steward May of Belleoram also presented them with memorabilia from his town. Mayor Eric Skinner of Hr. Breton offered the family an invitation to visit his town in the near future.
Alex Hickey Jr., who emceed the event, spoke to the invited guests of the affection and respect that people of the region still hold for Dr. Fitz-Gerald despite the fact that he died in 1939.
Dr. Fitz-Gerald was born in Marlborough England. He came to Newfoundland in 1873 as a company doctor for Newman and Company in Hr. Breton. When he retired from that position in 1900 he moved to St. Jacques where he opened a private practice on a hillside he named Mount Pleasant. From this central location in Fortune Bay he ministered to the medical needs of the entire population of the Bay. Medical colleagues throughout the Dominion of Newfoundland held him in very high esteem as well as those in the then neighbouring country, Canada. Dr. Fitz-Gerald died in 1939.
All three members of the Fitz-Gerald family spoke and offered heartfelt thanks to all who attended. The family was given a tour of Conrad Fitz-Gerald Academy following the event.