Keith “Doc” Fitzpatrick was born in Stevens, SD (North Sioux City) on May 20, 1926. He attended and graduated from Sacred Heart Grade School (1939) and Trinity High School (1943). The Queen of Peace at Trinity Heights now stands on the site of Trinity High School in Sioux City.
He served in the Pacific during WWII, participating in among other things the invasion of Okinawa as a member of the United States Navy from which he was honorably discharged in 1946. He attended South Dakota State University for a year before transferring to and graduating from Morningside College (1950). He served as the athletic trainer for the Sioux City Sioux’s baseball team from 1950 to 1953, and then attended graduate school at the University of Iowa receiving a Certificate of Physical Therapy in 1954. He married Shirley Mae Fox on April 23, 1954 at Saint Boniface Church in Sioux City and shortly afterwards began work at Creighton Memorial Hospital’s polio epidemic ward until he moved his new family to Mitchell in 1955 to become the Chief Physical Therapist at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He continued at St. Joseph’s until 1993. During those years he also was the physical therapist for St. Benedict’s in Parkston, SD and various nursing homes in Mitchell, Tripp, and Armour. In 1993 he began fulltime at St. Benedict’s continuing work there as the Chief Physical Therapist until shortly before his death.
Keith also resumed his career as an athletic trainer in 1957 at Notre Dame High School and continued there until the school closed in the spring of 1970. He continued his love for sports, coaches and athletes at Mitchell Senior High School in the fall of 1970 where he remained the Head Athletic Trainer until 2000. He continued to be involved part time until 2006.
He also found time during the years to serve as Scoutmaster and Committee member for Boy Scouts of America Troop 72 for twenty years. Keith also served as president of the PTA at Holy Family, president of the Notre Dame School Board, president of the South Dakota Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, and president of the South Dakota Chapter of the National Trainers Association.
He is a member of the South Dakota Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame, the South Dakota Physical Therapy Association Hall of Fame, the National Athletic Trainers Association District V Hall of Fame, and the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his six children; Michael (Rosemarie) Fitzpatrick, San Marcos, TX, Patrick Fitzpatrick, Estelline, SD, Shaun (Jane) Fitzpatrick, Brookings, SD, Timothy (Cindy) Fitzpatrick, Alexandria, SD, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Sioux Falls, SD and Maureen (Steve) Koch, Mitchell, SD; ten grandchildren: Cassidy, Alison, Trevor, Rian, Patrick Jr., Jonathon, Riley, Cassie, Shannen and Jaden, with one more on the way; also, three great-grandchildren: Mara, Connor, Nyla, Max and one week old, Fey; and his friend, Marcella Heitzman of Parkston, SD. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arnold in 1929 and Evelyn in 1996; his wife, Shirley in 1990; his brother, Earl in 1994 and his granddaughter, Samantha in 2006.
A Memorial Fund has been established to the Keith "Doc" Fitzpatrick Scholarship of the Mitchell Community Scholarship Fund.