William Knox Fitzpatrick Jr. M.D. passed peacefully at 7:00AM on Sat. Feb. 22nd. He was with his beloved and loving wife of 65 years Barbara Duncan Fitzpatrick (Bobbie) and family at home. At 94 years of age, his life was “…a full measure, shaken down, pressed together, and filled to overflowing…” We who knew him and loved him can only be thankful. He had integrity and “had an unforgettable style whether it was his hearty Laugh, his twinkling eyes, or the way he twisted his mouth a little when he got to the punch line of a joke.”
Knox was born in Atlanta, GA on September 29, 1925, handsome with a dark complexion, the product of Irish ancestors who were deeply rooted in the South. His parents William Knox Fitzpatrick Sr. and Harriott Craighton Thomas Fitzpatrick raised him at 1088 Rosewood Drive in a loving yet strict home with high standards. He was the older brother of Mary Charles Wilmer (Grant). He was always a gentleman. He was curious, energetic and intelligent; he loved God, people, medicine, humor, art, literature and music, and the world around him. He was passionate.
Knox enjoyed attending Inman Elementary School and Bass Junior High School near Highland Park, playing piano and earning his Eagle Scout badge. For High School, he attended Marian Military Institute in Marian Alabama, then went on to Naval Midshipman School in Fort Schuyler New York and was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, entering into active duty with the U.S. fleet in the Pacific during the war.
He attended Georgia Tech, then Emory University, then the Medical College of GA, graduating with a Medical Doctorate Degree in 1952. After completing an internship in Augusta, he completed a surgical residency at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis MO. He married Barbara Duncan (Bobbie) in 1954. They lived in St. Louis, and then moved to Salt Lake City in 1958 where he was the Chief of Surgery at the V.A. Hospital and served on the Surgical Faculty at the University of Utah Medical School.
Knox and Bobbie had 3 children between 1955 and 1959; Kim Elizabeth, William Knox III, and Mary Harriott (Mame), with whom they shared their love for God and for life, instilling in them curiosity, passion, humor, and enjoyment of nature and culture.
In 1963, Knox went into Private Practice in General and Thoracic Surgery with Wallace Brooke, officing near and serving patients at Holy Cross Hospital (Now Salt Lake Regional Medical Center). He was very active in the American Cancer Society. He served in the Utah State Medical Association as a delegate, Speaker of the House, and President. He was also active in the American Medical Association where, as a delegate from Utah, he held various offices and enjoyed many rich friendships.
Knox and Bobbie loved their community of friends in Salt Lake City and attended St. Mark’s Cathedral where Knox was a lay reader and served on the vestry. As a couple, they were very well matched with complementary gifts, talents, and abilities that made them a great team. They were devoted. They loved, respected, and most of all enjoyed one another.
Like others in his field, Knox was dissatisfied with medical malpractice insurance options. He assembled a team who personally visited every county medical society in the state of Utah, and worked together to create the Utah Medical Insurance Association (UMIA) - a doctors’ owned insurance company where he served as president from the beginning in 1978. The company helped contain medical costs which ultimately helped serve the patient, which Knox always focused on as the primary objective of medicine. He had great compassion and respect for his patients and loved the continuing practice of medicine.
In 1985, Knox accepted an invitation from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Utah to join their organization as Vice President of Medical Affairs, acting as a liaison with the state’s medical community. He accepted the position and enjoyed the challenges and triumphs of working with the Officers and staff. He viewed his team as a second family. He retired in 1997 at the age of 72.
Having already made numerous research journeys to courthouses and cemeteries throughout Georgia and Alabama, Knox completed and self-published within a year of his retirement, “The Descendants of Benjamin Fitzpatrick and Louisa Jane Thigpen”, a record of his family’s genealogy. Knox enjoyed painting landscapes and sculpture, producing busts of Bobbie and his 3 children.
Knox and Bobbie loved to travel in their motor home and thrilled at traveling to numerous places in the US and at spending winters in Solana Beach CA. They generously shared themselves, their love and support with family and friends which has helped, encouraged, and pleased us all immensely.
It was inspiring and heartwarming to see the devotion Knox and Bobbie shared always, and especially in their latter years together. Knox is survived by his wife Bobbie, Sister Mary Charles Wilmer (Atlanta, GA), daughters Kim Fitzpatrick Rasmussen (Paul) and Mame Fitzpatrick and son William Knox Fitzpatrick III (Lynne), 4 grandchildren: Ben Fitzpatrick(Ashley) of Seattle, WA, Annie O’Ryan Fitzpatrick Bronson (Ben) of Gilbert, AZ , William S. Fitzpatrick (Lindsey Jo) of Phoenix, AZ, and Riley Kate Nelsen of Medford, OR., 2 Step-Grandchildren Miles and Robert Rasmussen of L.A. CA., and 7 great-grandchildren. We are each significantly better people because they loved us.
As a physician, Knox dedicated his life to promoting health within his direct and very extended community and in that same spirit, due to the risk of Corona Virus, and for the greater good, the community Celebration of His Life Event has been cancelled. Please share your comments or memories by using the condolences tab above and make donations to the charity of your choice in honor of Dr. William Knox Fitzpatrick Jr. M.D.