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Former bishop dies

By The Mercury

The Most Reverend George K Fitzsimons,  Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina from 1984 to 2004, died Sunday, July 28, 2013, at his home in Ogden.

He was born Sept. 4, 1928, in Kansas City, Mo., to George Kinzie and Margaret Mary (Donovan) Fitzsimons. Survivors include his sister,  Margaret Muckenthaler and husband Francis J., Oak Ridge, Tenn.; a brother-in-law, Allan Molgaard and wife Mary Ellen, Las Vegas, Nev.; and nieces and nephews, Peggy Jordan, Richard Muckenthaler, Karen Muckenthaler, Cathy Wilcox, Christopher Molgaard, Anne Kisslinger, Ann Foley and Maggie Mordi. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Jane Molgaard, formerly of Torrance, Calif., and Helen Jaeger, formerly of Galena, Ill.

Bishop Fitzsimons attended St. Francis Xavier Grade School and Rockhurst High School and College, all in Kansas City, Mo., before entering Conception Seminary College, Conception, Mo. He was ordained to the priesthood March 18, 1961, by Cardinal John Cody, then Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Mo.

Before entering the seminary, Bishop Fitzsimons was employed at City National Bank from 1948 to 1950, then served as a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1954, during which time he was a pilot. He was a real estate salesman after his service in the Navy, prior to entering the seminary in 1956.

Bishop Fitzsimons was associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; St. James Parish, Liberty, Mo.; and Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Kansas City, Mo. On March 10, 1970, he was appointed chancellor of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. He then was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Aug. 14, 1974.

On May 27, 1975, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. His Episcopal ordination took place at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception July 3, 1975.  While serving as Auxiliary Bishop he also was appointed pastor of Christ the King Parish, Kansas City, Mo., June 21, 1978.

Bishop Fitzsimons was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Salina March 25, 1984, and was installed May 29, 1984, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina by Archbishop Ignatius J. Strecker of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan. He served as Bishop of the Diocese of Salina until his retirement Oct. 21, 2004.  Upon retirement he relocated to Ogden where he continued to minister generously to the people of God.

Previous other assignments for Bishop Fitzsimons included:  chaplain for the Catholic students at Kansas City Junior College; chaplain for Catholic students at William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo.; teacher at St. Pius X High School, Loretto Academy and Lillis High School, all in Kansas City; chaplain at Avila College, Kansas City; chaplain to the Serra Club; diocesan director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith for approximately 10 years, director of the Papal Volunteers and Extension Volunteers, assistant master of ceremonies and spiritual director of the Southern Curia of the Legion of Mary.

A Wake will be celebrated at 6 p.m. Thursday at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina with Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger officiating. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Cathedral, celebrated by Bishop Weisenburger, visiting bishops, priests of the Diocese of Salina and visiting clergy.  Interment will take place in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Salina following the Mass.

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