Jim Fitzgerald - Native Son, Janesville, Wisconsin

James Francis Fitzgerald, Sr., passed away in Janesville in June, 2012.
He graduated from Janesville High School in 1944, served in the Navy, graduated from Notre Dame in 1947, and eventually returned to Janesville, where he operated a service station with Fred Weber, and oil jobbing business. He and his wife raised six children, and in 1956 he was voted Janesville Man of the Year.

With local businessman J.P. Cullen, they started the first two modern shopping centers in Janesville - Creston Park and Sunnyside Shopping Center.

In July 1961, he is part-owner of the new Holiday Inn hotel and swimming pool that opens at 2723 Milton Avenue, located at the current site of Toys 'R Us.

In May 1965, the new Oasis Restaurant, with a lake, opens near the I-90 interchange.  Bessie the cow graced its entrance.

In September 1966 he brought Total TV, Wisconsin's first cable television system, to Janesville. 

In October 1976 he bought the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team, hiring Don Nelson to replace Larry Costello as coach 18 games into the season. Nelson, who had no previous coaching experience, would guide the Bucks to the playoffs in 9 of his 11 years with Miwlaukee.

For complete obituary, view The Janesville Gazette online: http://www.gazettextra.com/obits/2012/jun/05/james-fitzgerald-sr/

--posted by sb