Celebrating Antoinette

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  • Photos provided Five generations: Antoinette Elizabeth Fitzpatrick of West Milford, is seen here with her daughter, Mary Elizabeth O'Connell, granddaughter Rachel Elizabeth Tilly, great-granddaughter Mikaela Elizabeth Drouin and great-great-granddaughter Sarah Elizabeth Lee Thompson.

  • Shortly after their wedding, Antoinette and Tom Fitzpatrick.

  • Antoinette with four of her great-granddaughters.

  • Antoinette Fitzpatrick looked great at her 100th birthday party, held on April 15.

  • Antoinette could handle a broom back on Gold Street in North Arlington.

  • All of Antoinette's blood decendents are seen here, with Antoinette and her children at the top, grandchildren on another level, followed by great-grandchildren and the great-greats.

Antoinette "Ann" Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, also known as Tootie, of Bald Eagle Commons celebrated her 100th birthday on April 15 at the Embassy Suites in Parsippany.

More than 120 guests came to celebrate with Ann, and she welcomed them all, including five generations of Fitzpatricks.

Mayor Bettina Bieri presented Ann with a 'Certificate of Merit' and a gracious toast.

Early yearsAnn was born on April 15, 1917 and grew up in the Little Italy section of Newark. She was the valedictorian of her eighth grade class at Abington Elementary School in Newark. She was also an athlete, winning the long jump that same year at the annual May Day events. She was the only girl in her gym class who could climb the rope.

Ann worked at Bamberger's Department Store tea room, which provided white glove service to patrons. She witnessed the advent of bus service to Newark neighborhoods, a big event for working girls.

Politically activeAnn's very first vote was to reelect Franklin Delano Roosevelt to his second term. She could't wait to cast her ballot. In 2016, she proudly cast her ballot for who she hoped would be the nation's first madam president. During her lifetime, Ann has seen 17 presidents serve.

She was very active in local politics, working the polls and volunteering for the local chapter of the Democratic National Committee. She attended the convention in Chicago when Hubert Humphrey ran for president with her delegate husband.

Making a moveAnn moved to North Arlington in Bergen County from Newark just before World War II. At the time, North Arlington was dairy farms and fields. Her husband served two tours in the Philippines, while Ann was home with two small children.

Later, Ann worked at the Queen of Peace High School cafeteria. She helped raise funds for the new high school, becoming one of the early founding families.

All these years laterAnn lost her husband after 38 years of marriage when he was 70. But their legacy lives on.

The couple had six children, all of whom were present for Ann's 100th birthday.

Her children gave her 17 grandchildren; they gave her 24 great-grandchildren; so far, there are four great-great-grandchildren.

Ann’s children are Patricia (Pattie) Ann Gilchrist, Thomas (Timmy) Aloyisius Fitzpatrick III, Mary Elizabeth O'Connell, Ruth Loraine McLaughlin, Anthony Joseph DePaul Fitzpatrick and Felicity Ann Schaefer.

Ann's daughter Mary O'Connell told The Messenger that her youngest sister, Felicity, was born on Thanksgiving Day. But her mom was hosting the event for 20 people and no one knew she was in labor.

"She didn't leave for the hospital until the last dish was dried," said O'Connell. "As my brother would say, '...and the legend lives on!'"

Ann was in fine form throughout her birthday party, enjoying the celebration. Guests came from far and wide, including London, England. Ann was the life of the party. She was the last one to leave as she thanked all of the guests for joining in the celebration.

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