Petersburgh - Dr. M. Alannah Fitzgerald, beloved mother, performance artist, educator, and defender of social justice, died on Sunday, August 16, 2020 at the age of 72. Dr. Fitzgerald is survived by her brother, Dr. Ned Fitzgerald (Mary Carol), two sons, Christopher S. Riccardi (Colleen) and Stephen Shane Riccardi (Julie), and daughter, Val Siobhan Fitzgerald-Matson (A. Lee). Alannah was predeceased by her sweet son, Eamon Fitzgerald Hart, in September 2009; and predeceased by her sister, Sheilah Donovan, in 2017.
Born on July 28th, 1948, daughter of Edward A. and Julia “Mimi” Fitzgerald, and a lifetime resident of Petersburgh, NY, Alannah felt most at peace at her homestead in the Taconic Mountains, though her love for the sea often called her to travel the world in search of new and exciting shores. At one point, during the Cold War, she even had the opportunity to tour the Soviet Union with a theatre troupe of her best friends in a production of The Wizard of Oz.
Aside from her boundless love for her children, family and friends, Alannah was absolutely enamored with the power of music and was a consummate singer, songwriter, and performer of Celtic music. Her proudest personal achievements, aside from her children, were both her educational accomplishments and her vocal and drumming recordings on the albums Land of My Youth: American Piping in the Scottish Tradition and The Kings Court and Celtic Fair Empire Brass Quintet.
Alannah was granted her Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University in 1997, and published her doctoral thesis “Farm Women, Personal Power through Crisis Intervention” in 1996. A self-proclaimed “staunch feminist,” Alannah relentlessly championed for women’s empowerment throughout her entire life. In her youth, she poured her heart and soul into a program through Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County which supported unwed mothers who struggled to meet their daily needs.
A truly independent, deeply spiritual and mystical Irishwoman, Alannah touched the hearts and souls of all whom she ever encountered. She could often be heard imparting the old Irish adage, “Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again.”
Restrictions imposed by coronavirus pandemic have compelled Alannah’s family to keep her service intimate and invite-only, keeping in step with today’s social distancing practices. In the future, her family will announce a public celebration of life when it is deemed safe for everyone to do so.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated, Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 10:30AM at Sacred Heart Church on Pawling Ave, Troy with a graveside service following at St. Jean's Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are being made through the Bryce Funeral Home, Inc. in Troy, NY. Memorial contributions can be sent to Camp Jabberwocky in Martha’s Vineyard, MA or to any local woman’s shelter of your choice.
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