In Memory of

Ben Fitzpatrick, Jr.


A biographical sketch of Dr. Ben Fitzpatrick, Jr.

Benjamin Fitzpatrick, Jr., was born in Miami, Florida in September of 1932, the second son of Ben and Frances Fitzpatrick. He has one brother, Daniel, a retired veterinarian. After attending public schools in Miami, Ben enrolled in Auburn University (then known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute), where he majored in mathematics, graduating in 1952. He started graduate school there, where he met Marjorie Higgins, to whom he was married for forty-seven years.

Ben and Margie left Auburn in 1953 and moved to Dallas, where they both worked for Chance Vought Aircraft, and where their daughter Susan Frances was born.

In 1955, Ben began graduate school at the University of Texas. The family lived in Austin for the next four years, and Ben and Margie's two sons Jack David and Kenneth Daniel were born there. Ben received the PhD degree in 1958 under the direction of Professor H.J.Ettlinger. Both Margie and Ben took courses from the legendary R.L.Moore, and most of Ben's subsequent work in mathematics has been in the direction in which Dr.Moore started him.

In 1959 the Fitzpatricks returned to Auburn, Ben as an Assistant Professor and Margie as an Instructor. Their boss was W.V.Parker, under whom they had studied before going to Texas. He was an outstanding teacher and Departmental Chair. Margie continued her graduate studies and finished her work in 1964. She was the first PhD student of Emilie Haynsworth.

Ben later served as Department Chair at Auburn, a role for which he was greatly respected. Leading the Mathematics Department was certainly a challenge, but his efforts in that position will long be remembered as both very unselfish and highly positive.

Ben's true professional calling, however, had always been teaching. Those of us who studied under him, in positions from freshman calculus to graduate research, always enjoyed his intellect, his good humor, his amazing ability to know when to prod and when to praise.

While on the faculty at Auburn, Ben enjoyed many opportunities to travel a good bit, including extended visits in Egypt, England, and China. Many lasting friendships and colleagial relationships were formed through these travels. Many of remember great good times getting together at meetings as well.

Ben retired from Auburn in 1992, and he and Margie moved to San Antonio, Texas. Ben served there on the faculty of University of the Incarnate Word from 1992 to 1996. Those of us fortunate enough to visit the Fitzpatricks in San Antone were treated to the culinary delights of that city, which were beaten only by Ben and Gus Denney's home cooked wonders. After returning to Auburn, Ben and Margie moved into the house they bought from the estate of cherished colleague and friend Emilie Haynsworth. Their son Jack and his fine family live in Auburn. Susan and her family live in Dothan, Alabama, about two hours away. Kenneth lives in Jonas Ridge, North Carolina, where he is building his own house on Fitzpatrick family property passed down from Ben's father, who passed on in January, 1999.

Please feel free to forward additional biographical information.

[These pages devoted to Ben are reformatted from a former web site and used with the permission of its originator, Ben G. Fitzpatrick, of the Mathematics Department of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.]

You may participate in this tribute by contributing to

The Ben Fitzpatrick, Jr., Memorial Fund
c/o Ms. Tammy Beck Hartwell '81
Director of Development
College of Sciences and Mathematics
315 Roosevelt Concourse
Auburn University AL 36849

The fund supports the annual Fitzpatrick Student Fellowship. Checks should be made payable to "AU Foundation." Please feel free to call Ms. Hartwell at 334-844-1449 or email her.

Latest revision: 21 Nov. 2011