Remembering Former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick

Former United States Representative Mike Fitzpatrick signs a photo for Merrill Reese. "Great seeing you & WBCB!"

Callers, including Former Lt. Gov. Jim Crawley, join Pat Wandling on Speak Your Piece Monday afternoon to remember Mike Fitzpatrick.

Noted United States Representative Mike Fitzpatrick passed away Monday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer. Friends from both sides of the political aisle expressed their condolences, remembering his character and commitment to public service.

The Fitzpatrick family released a statement on his death, requesting privacy.

“Michael Fitzpatrick passed away peacefully this morning, surrounded by family, after a long and arduous battle with melanoma.”

Former Governor Mark Schweiker appointed Fitzpatrick in 1995 to fill his seat on the Board of Bucks County Commissioners. Fitzpatrick was 31 years old.

Schweiker told WBCB the Fitzpatricks were “good Levittown folks.” His heart went out to Fitzpatrick’s wife Kathleen and six children.

“His legacy is rich and I’ll miss his perserveance and astute take on what our fellow residents and citizens of Bucks County needed from their government. You can always count on Mike to give it his best effort and just push forward.”

In 2004, Fitzpatrick won his first bid for Congress to represent PA-08. He lost the following election to Democrat Pat Murphy, but re-emerged in 2010. Fitzpatrick beat Murphy and served three more terms in the House of Representatives.

“Our nation lost a true patriot today. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick was a champion for our beloved Bucks County. No one worked harder than Mike,” Murphy stated.

Former Lt. Governor Jim Cawley replaced Fitzpatrick in his county commissioner seat in 2005.

“Mike Fitzpatrick and I came up in politics together. His family and my family have been family starting as early as our fathers. Not only today did we as a county lose a great public servant, but I lost a friend. he personified what it meant to be a true public servant, there was certainly nobody who could outwork Mike Fitzpatrick.”

“It’s obviously a very sad day for Bucks,” State Rep. Frank Farry said. “I saw nobody that put up such a courageous fight. I was astounded, during his battle with cancer, how hard he still worked and how engaged he was. He always had time for a call and quick bit of wisdom.”

During election years, Fitzpatrick joined his political opponents for live debates on WBCB 1490 AM.

“Everyone should have a Mike Fitzpatrick in their life. He was one of a kind,” said Pat Deon, President of WBCB 1490. WBCB 1490 General Manager and Voice of the Eagles Merrill Reese issued a similar sentiment.

“Mike Fitzpatrick is one of the finest people I have ever met. He did everything in his power to make this world a better place,” said Reese.

“Bucks County lost a giant today. He was a wonderful man of the highest integrity and character,” Raising the Bar President Bill Pezza said. “I worked with Mike on the Redevelopment Authority when he was our solicitor. I atteneded numerous Eagle Scout inductions where Mike was the speaker. I admire and love the man, love what he did for Bristol Borough. I think if we had 435 Mike Fitzpatricks in Washington, this would be a much better place.”

Pezza admitted, as a moderate democrat, he did not agree with the former Congressman on every issue. But he always respected his demeanor and character.

Bucks District Attorney Matt Weintraub issued a statement late Monday morning.

“As a young ADA, Mike Fitzpatrick was always someone I looked up to and sought to emulate in how he served the public, regardless of affiliation or stature. He treated everyone with dignity. Our office is deeply saddened to learn of his passing.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.