POLAND, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Kathleen M. (Carano) Fitzgerald, 69, of Poland, passed away on Wednesday, January 4, surrounded by her loving family at her residence, after a courageous battle with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. The rare and fatal degenerative brain disease progressively destroyed her life for two years, as she valiantly fought to maintain dignity and joy.

Kathy was born October 21, 1953, in Youngstown, a daughter of the late Steve S. and Catherine V. (Tallerino) Carano.

She was a 1971 graduate of Ursuline High School.

She was employed by Lake Shore Motor Freight in the accounting department.

She was a lifetime member of The Immaculate Conception Parish; she attended Immaculate Conception grade school and daily and weekly Mass at the church until its closing in 2011. She later became a parishioner at Our Lady of Sorrows St. Matthias Church, where she formed many dear and lasting friendships.

Kathy married Hubert J. Fitzgerald on September 30, 1972. They were together for 56 years; she was the love of his life and he was devoted to her, all the way through her very last breath. They recently celebrated 50 years of marriage and many happy memories together. He survives her.

A life-long learner, Kathy was constantly consulting encyclopedias and dictionaries and later the internet, to learn everything she could. She would often be heard saying, “look it up!” anytime someone wondered something aloud. She was everyone’s sounding board; family and friends called her all day long for advice because she was patient and wise. Kathy was everyone’s biggest fan – she celebrated every achievement great or small, with cards, phone calls and daily texts. She would take every opportunity to let you know she was thinking of you; she had contact each day with every person in her family. Her steadfast focus on family and love was her life-long work: she loved fiercely and held her loved-ones close. By her example, she taught her family to be kind and honest and true; a legacy they will carry forward for generations.

A great blessing during Kathy’s illness was the care she received from Touching Hearts Home Health. Their expertise and kindness allowed Kathy to live comfortably at home as her disease progressed. Becky, Michelle, Tami, Darlene, Terry’Onna, Lexie and Samantha cared for her with compassion, especially in the final hours of her life. For this, her family is forever grateful.

Besides her husband, Kathy is survived by two daughters, Kelly L. (Dan) Stilson of Canfield and Julie A. (Larry) Frangos of Poland. She also leaves behind a sister, Sandra Carano of Poland; a brother, John (Diane) Carano of Struthers; her four beloved grandchildren, Abigail, Mallory, Francesca and Maximus; her sister-in-law, Denise Gorman of Austintown and numerous nieces and nephews.

Kathy was preceded in death by her parents; her father and mother-in-law, John D. “Denny” and Margaret Fitzgerald; a brother-in-law, Joseph P. Gorman; a niece, Ms. Kerry Yoder and her dearest friend, Charlene Bertilacci.

A Mass celebrating Kathy’s memory will be offered on Thursday, January 19, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows St. Matthias Church, 915 Cornell Street, Youngstown, with the Rev John Jerek as celebrant.

In lieu of flowers, Kathy’s family suggests contributions be made to the CJD Foundation in her memory.

Arrangements for Mrs. Fitzgerald are under the direction of the Rossi Brothers and Lellio Funeral Home, 4442 South Avenue in Boardman. Family and friends are encouraged to offer prayers and support to the family by visiting the Book of Memories at www.rossifunerals.com.

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