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Bryan Ernest FitzPatrick
Viewing: At the church on Sunday, November 29th from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and on Monday, November 30th from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
Service: Monday, November 30th from 11:30 a.m.
Location: Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 205 South Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

On Sunday, November 15, 2015, Bryan E. FitzPatrick, of N. Potomac, MD died suddenly  in Hoboken, NJ where he attended college.  Beloved son of Kristin Andersen FitzPatrick and Jerry FitzPatrick and brother of Kerry and Jerry. Many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and his beloved cats �Mister� and �Willy� also survive him.  

Friends may call at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 205 South Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 on Sunday, November 29th from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and on Monday, November 30th from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The celebration of his life will commence at 11:30 a.m.

Interment will follow in All Souls Cemetery, Germantown, MD. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to either the above church, the Boy Scouts of America, National Capital Area Council, 9190 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD, 20814 or Autism Society of America, 4340 East-West Hwy, Suite 350, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

Please sign the guest book.

Bryan�s favorite quote from the movie �Catch Me If You Can�  � Frank Abagnale Sr. played by Christopher Walken 

�Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn�t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.�

Following are comments shared at Bryan's Service:

Having Bryan as my brother was the very first experience I remember having of learning to love and care for someone smaller and weaker than me. At 2 � years old, the love you know typically comes from parents or people in positions of power over you. Love takes on a different form when directed towards a younger sibling. It is embodied in how you empathize with this small, new person�you are so familiar with the way they see the world because your perspectives are so genetically intertwined. Yet, at the same time that you identify so strongly with them, you have an urge to protect them. It is not enough to feel what they are feeling, you have feel what they are feeling two steps before they do. This, at least, was what I thought it meant to care for someone as an older sister. Bryan, however, forced me to broaden this definition of what it means to care for someone way beyond the narrow, controlled vision I originally had. 

As a child, Bryan had no filter. When he was excited, he let his enthusiasm show past the point I found acceptable from my young point of view. I was terrified that he would embarrass himself and sometimes I would try to gently stop him before he started, leaving him puzzled. Yet it was his radical openness that allowed him to connect with people on a deeper level. He was not afraid to reach through the fear of being vulnerable to give someone a hug. It makes sense to me now that he was able to meet people where they were in their darkest moments, to experience that pain alongside them. He did not feel their despair from a reasonable distance to protect himself. He was willing to forsake his ego completely to enmesh himself in someone else�s life. For Bryan, to truly care for and protect someone requires you to be with the person on their level, not to pat their back while resting comfortably in the security of his own life.

            The same courage that allowed him to be emotionally open was also evident in how he explained himself to the world. Bryan was not afraid to be cryptic. My mom once said that he spoke in riddles. Sometimes it seemed like he had many elaborate in-jokes with himself. He never restricted jokes to certain audiences�it didn�t matter if the jokes were layered with cultural references from obscure web phenomena, he would tell it to children and baby boomers alike. It was ok if people did not understand his jokes the way he did. It was ok to be unintelligible. People would come to their own conclusions about what he was talking about. Their diverging points of view only meant more opportunities for newer, more exciting tangents.

            Bryan always seemed to be confident that everything was better than it was. As a third grader, after hearing his close friend�s father had passed away, he told the boy, �Don�t believe everything you hear.� While this wasn�t necessarily the most helpful advice for the moment, the underlying sentiment rang true�there was always reason to hold out hope. Bryan had faith that there was impossible goodness to be found and made real in the world. This is the kind of faith I hope to bring into this moment, to believe that Bryan�s goodness hasn�t simply been wiped clean off the earth. Like matter, his inner essence will not disappear. We can retrace his imprint and extend the marks he made in our lives further, to complete the circuit that his life began. Bryan, there is no one like you. I love you and I miss you every day.

I wanted to get up and tell you something about Bryan that you didn�t know, but that proved to be difficult because in talking to those who met him, even if only briefly, it seemed they already knew who he was:

o   That he was passionate about making people feel good and in fact making their lives better

  He would often ask people how they were doing, and if they said �fine� and he sensed that they may not actually be �fine�, he would persist, and say, �no, really � HOW ARE YOU DOING?!�

  His passion extended to acting, where he played many roles that we think were memorable, and that we still hear about from people

         like Mozart in a 4th grade musical

         like the cowardly lion in a middle school �Wizard of Oz� production

         like �Edgar� the bus driver, in a high school comedy

o   That he was thoughtful, and had a different way of seeing the world

  He really made you pause and think

         if anything, to try to understand what the heck he was talking about

         We still hear compliments about a thoughtful sermon that Bryan gave on this altar on Youth Sunday several years ago

o   That he loved the Boy Scouts, because it gave him great pleasure in contributing, especially in working with the younger boys to help them learn the ropes

  He once went on a trip where we stayed in cabins and he volunteered to stay in a cabin with a group of unruly first year Scouts rather than with the older Scouts; for many, that would have been a real sacrifice, if not torture, but Bryan truly enjoyed the challenge and saw the need for a calming presence that he could provide.

  When he got to college, he joined Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed fraternity dedicated to community service and leadership development, with many Eagle Scouts like himself, so that he could continue to make contributions, not only through the efforts of the group itself, but by being a friend and helping out other members

         We, i.e., his mother and I, his brother and sister, Aunts & Uncles,  have learned much in the past two weeks about how he was loved by the fraternity members and his fellow students

         He even spent time watching a football game with a friend even though he was not a football fan

o   That he loved to smile and make people smile

         He became the so-called �boomslap� position in the fraternity, whose job it was to provide comic relief for the meetings � right up his alley, and a job he truly relished

         Someone commented to us yesterday when we were receiving friends during the visitation here in the church, that he didn�t look like himself because he wasn�t smiling

  And rarely did he complain about anything � whether camping in cold, wet weather, or mowing the lawn on a sweltering day, if you asked him if he felt bad, he would just sort of shrug

  We believe that he tried to make himself and others laugh to create good times and help himself and others when times were not so good

The prayer of Saint Francis kind of summed it up for him:

o   �to console rather than be consoled�

o   �where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

o   �Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

o   Because he understood that �it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned�

The prayer card contains a moral about two mice who fell into a bucket of cream that tells about overcoming daunting difficulties

o   This story comes from a movie the movie �Catch me if you can�

o   One of the mice quickly gives up and drowns, while the other struggles, eventually churning the cream into butter and walking out to safety

o   It may seem odd for a prayer card, but Bryan once used it when asked to say a prayer at Ascension�s work camp, adding that we should all be the second mouse, i.e., never giving upI

 Bryan didn�t set out to change the world, but sought to make the world a better place and it appears from everything we�ve heard, that he succeeded at it. He�ll be dearly missed by myself, his mother, brother, and sister, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.  But his influence extended well beyond his family and he touched people, some in large ways, and many in small but significant ways. Bryan, I do believe that you lived life well and we are all the better for it.

            He was a gentle man. These are the words my then seven year old son, Bryan, used to describe his grandfather who had just passed away. The same words could be used to describe my Bryan. Bryan was born with a heart of gold. He was kind, loving, loyal, thoughtful, and considerate. He was always happy and optimistic.

            Bryan was caring and sensitive. I remember him as a little boy crying when we had to cut down two trees in our backyard because they had died. He was so upset because he had just learned about how trees help the environment. Another time when he was two years old we had gone on vacation to the Outer Banks with my family. My husband was unable to join us until a few days later. I knew it was going to be a challenge because Bryan was the kind of child you had to hold on to or he would take off running. This particular day I had trudged onto the beach struggling with all of the paraphernalia that a two and a five year old would need. After settling in, they decided they wanted to go to the pool. When we got to the pool, Bryan was so excited he jumped into the pool without his floatie and a kind man sitting by the pool fished him out for me. After a short time at the pool, they said they wanted to go back so we made our way back across the hot sand to our blanket. It was at that time they informed me that back meant back to the beach house. By this time I had a splitting headache and just sat down on the blanket and began to cry. As I was crying with my head in my hands I felt these two little warm arms embrace me. It was Bryan. He knew just what I needed. I will never forget the feeling of comfort my two year old son gave me that day.

            Bryan had a different way of seeing the world and a real depth to his thinking. One day we were riding in the car. Bryan was in middle school at the time. All of a sudden, he said, �I can't believe it has taken me this long to get that joke!� I asked what joke he was talking about. He said, �Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the OTHER SIDE!� He was thinking the chicken would meet his demise while crossing the road and go to heaven. I was thinking, �I don't think the author of that joke put that much thought into it.� But that was the way Bryan thought about things. 

            He was funny with a very dry sense of humor. My neighbor's son once asked Bryan if he had met any girls at college. He answered, in his usual way, �Considering women make up 50% of the population, I have met a few.� On one of his jaunts, as he would say, through the woods, he saw a bottle of Ensure thrown in the grass. My son, Jerry, used to drink Ensure, so he texted a picture of it to my husband and asked, �Was Jerry out here taking a hike without me?� 

            He loved his kitteuns, k-i-t-t-e-u-n-s, as he would call them. Whenever he texted me he would always ask how they were doing. �Are they inside? Are they warm and snuggly?� Bryan once found music made especially for calming cats on the internet. When we were taking our cat, Mister, to the vet, he pulled it up on his phone and held it next to the crate for the entire 20 minute ride to the vet.

            He also loved acting and put his heart and soul into whatever part he played. Some roles were more demanding than others. When he played the role of Captain Keller in the Miracle Worker, Bryan had to memorize a lot of lines. I remember him saying, �This guy never shuts up!� 

            Bryan worked hard at many things. Whether it was getting a merit badge, studying for a test, learning his lines for a play, teaching himself programming, or accomplishing a goal. One year he set a goal to listen to one new album every day. He reached that goal and the local �Tunes� store was happier for it. We had to remind him that the money in his account was for books and food.

            Bryan was a unique person. He was a light in this world. He made us laugh, he made us think, and he showed us how to care. Jerry and I are so proud to have had him as our son. Fare thee well, my Bryan, my beautiful boy. I miss you and I love you with all my heart.

I first met Bryan in the Fall of 2013 when he began the New Member process with Alpha Phi Omega. He was part of the Alpha Delta class, and I was his New Member Educator. We got to know each other very well over that semester as I worked closely with him; it was a pleasure to watch him learn about the ideals of our fraternity, and put them into practice in that unique way that only he could. He would always be seen walking around with a smile on his face, and goodness in his heart. He would give you the warmest teddy bear hug, not afraid to let it linger when you were having a bad day. As a brother he was in the Joyce Family; not only did he mesh perfectly with the eccentric personality of our family, but he also brought us a lot of fresh ideas, and new perspective on things. He was a friend to all, with malice towards none.

Words cannot describe the overwhelming loss that I�m sure we all feel after this awful tragedy. Yet we should all be aware that his legacy continues to live on, still, through the memories of him we all share. He will still continue to illuminate the darkness of a world so quick to anger, and frustration, every time we remember his gentle demeanor, and his warm embrace. We can live every day with the happy memories we have of him- and we can let those memories guide our path through humility, and cheerfulness, until we see each other again. We love you and we miss you Bryan, and I love you and miss you.

-Mike Azzara. 

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