Dolores Fitzsimmons, age 92, passed away at Valley Health Care in Billings early Sunday morning, July 5, 2015.
Dolores was born on April 15, 1923, in Mandan, N.D., the fourth of five children and only daughter of Ralph and Pauline (Opitz) Friesz. She graduated from Mandan High School in 1940 and, after attending the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minn., graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks in 1946, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority.
In her 20s, Dolores took airplane pilot training and worked at several jobs in Bismarck, N.D., and Miami Beach, Fla. She returned to Mandan, married Pat Fitzsimmons on Feb. 3, 1951, and they were blessed with three children. As Pat’s road construction business moved west, so did the family — to Dickinson, N.D., in 1968 and Billings in 1972.
Dolores was a devout Catholic and, after raising her children, worked as a volunteer at St. Vincent Hospital and Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Billings. She had a lifelong passion for the game of bridge and crossword puzzles. She took up golf in her 50s, played into her 80s, and shot a hole-in-one in Borrego Springs, Calif., in 1992.
Dolores was preceded in death by her sons, Jim (March 30 of this year) and Tim (1982); her husband, Pat (1996); her parents; and three brothers. Dolores is survived by her son, Bob of Billings; granddaughters (Jim’s daughters) Kylene of Bismarck and Carlyn of Mandan; and great-granddaughter (Carlyn’s daughter) Cedar. She is also survived by her brother, Richard Friesz (June) of San Antonio, Texas; her sister-in-law, Kathleen Leik of Helena; eight nieces and five nephews.
The family would like to extend special gratitude to the CNAs and nurses at Valley Health Care for their care of Dolores over the past five years. While flowers are welcome, a memorial to one’s charity of choice would honor Dolores.
If they play bridge or work crossword puzzles in heaven, we believe that’s what Dolores is doing today.
Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Friday at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. with a Rosary Service to follow at 7 p.m. Burial will be in Mandan Union Cemetery.