|John Fitzpatrick, 87; Navy Officer, Oil Executive|
Saturday, August 4, 2007; Page B06
John P. "Jack" Fitzpatrick, 87, a retired Navy commander and oil executive with long ties to Spain, died July 30 of a heart attack caused by respiratory failure at Sibley Memorial Hospital.
A Spanish speaker, Cmdr. Fitzpatrick had served as note-taker and interpreter in the 1951 negotiations between Adm. Forrest Sherman, the U.S. chief of naval operations, and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco that led to the establishment of U.S. bases in Spain.
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Cmdr. Fitzpatrick often told the story that when Sherman, who was his father-in-law, died before returning home to the Washington, the historic U.S.-Spanish Defense Agreement had to be drafted from his notes and recollections of the Madrid meeting.
Family members said that in 1969, Cmdr. Fitzpatrick earned a personal footnote in Spanish history books by being the person who broke the news -- then still a secret known to a few top Spanish officials -- to Prince Juan Carlos that Franco planned the following week to declare the prince his successor, thus restoring the Spanish monarchy after his death.
Cmdr. Fitzpatrick never revealed how he acquired this information, but he had spent a career in naval intelligence, serving as naval attache in Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Lisbon, and as fleet intelligence officer for the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, his family said.
John Patrick Fitzpatrick was born in Santa Monica, Calif., the son of an Irish-born owner of avocado and lime orchards. After graduating from Loyola University of Los Angeles, he attended Georgetown School of Foreign Service and in 1941 was commissioned into the Navy. His first overseas assignment was as a U.S. naval convoy and routing officer in Santos, Brazil.
He married Ann Sherman, the admiral's daughter, in 1945.
After retiring from the Navy in 1959, Cmdr. Fitzpatrick returned to Madrid as area representative for the Gulf Oil Corp. and lived there until 1976. He was vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Spain from 1959 to 1967.
A Russian speaker, he was for a time Gulf Oil's chief negotiator with Moscow, looking into possible areas of joint activity in the energy field.
He retired from Gulf in 1978 as vice president and director of international affairs.
Cmdr. Fitzpatrick joined Ahlstrom Pyropower, a San Diego subsidiary of A. Ahlstrom Corp. of Finland, as a consultant to market the company's new, ecologically friendly technology for power plant boilers designed to burn low-grade fuels. He was with the U.S. subsidiary when the Foster Wheeler Corp. acquired it in 1995, marketing the turnkey power plants worldwide. He retired in 1998.
He was Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Lazarus and a Knight of Malta.
His wife of 61 years died in 2006.
Survivors include four children, John Sherman Fitzpatrick, Diane Flamini and Deirdre Fitzpatrick, all of Washington, and Amarie Kappaz of Potomac; two sisters; 13 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
|John P. Fitzpatrick|
http://www.smom.org/files/annual-report-2005.pdf (listed as a patron on page 16) (proof positive)