Birth in Dublin, Ireland: [29 September 1929]
Farewell to much loved and faithful De La Salle educator
Brother Hyacinth Fitzgerald, of the Brothers of The Christian Schools (FSC) also called the De La Salle Brothers, passed away quietly at St. Teresa’s Hospital in the early hours of 14 December 2014. He was 85-years-old.
James Maurice Fitzgerald was born in Rathcoole, County Dublin, and attended the De La Salle Brother’s school in Naas, County Kildare.
It was while studying in primary six, that he and his best friend considered joining the Irish Christian Brothers, but someone recommended the De La Salle Brothers instead and that was that. He joined in 1945.
His parents were highly supportive of his vocation and his family was a source of constant support throughout his life.
After completing his formation in Ireland and England, he was earmarked for the missions and was sent to the Asia in 1948.
Early on, he taught in west Malaysia at St. Xavier’s, in Penang, and St. Paul’s, in Seremban. But he left his mark mainly in Sarawak, in east Malaysia, in St. Joseph’s, in Kuching, and Sacred Heart, in Sibu. He taught English, Religion, Economics and Commerce.
He also developed a love for playing and coaching badminton. His students from those years spoke well of him in life and in death.
In 1960, he was sent to University College Dublin to take a degree and studied Archaeology, Music, French and Economics. He was also sent to France during the summer holidays to polish up his French.
Always fond of music, he liked to sing French songs. He would also listen to Mandarin songs and try to sing them. He also learned to play the violin and the harmonica, and loved to be asked to play or sing.
In 1983, he had to stop teaching as he had reached the retirement age of 55 as set down in Malaysian law. Not wanting to retire, he arrived in Hong Kong where continued to teach for another 10 years. He was assigned to teach in Chan Sui Ki (La Salle) College, Homantin, where he taught English and Religious Studies. He continued to pursue his love of badminton and, despite his age, he always played to win.
When he finally retired, he did the crosswords every day and would never miss prayer exercises. He led a simple life.
He would climb Lion Rock and many other mountains in Hong Kong together with Brother Mark Blake and Brother Patrick Tierney. A time came, however, when he would let them go on their own while he proceeded at his own pace. Later still, he confined himself to local walks as his knees began to cause some trouble.
The brothers noticed a gradual decline in his memory, though at first it was hardly noticeable. However, as the years passed it became much more pronounced, though at times he remembered things quite clearly.
Eventually he was diagnosed with Alzheimers dementia and entered the St. Teresa’s Hospital where he was well cared for until he passed at 12.55am on December 14.
road rise to meet Brother Hyacinth, and God hold him in the palm of his hand.
18 January 2015
◆ The Gateway Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin Fifty-Fifth Issue, The Lasallian Family Hong Kong, 2015.
◆ The Gateway Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin Sixty-Fourth Issue, The Lasallian Family Hong Kong, 2016.