From The Philadelphia Business Journal: Former congressman Mike Fitzpatrick dies at 56, leaves legacy at Philadelphia law firm

January 07, 2020

Mike Fitzpatrick, who served four terms in Congress representing Bucks County and later became a partner at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, died Monday after a 12-year battle with colon cancer. He was 56.

“Mike was a class act and everyone here was deeply enriched by having him at our firm,” said Obermayer Managing Partner Mathieu J. Shapiro. “We are deeply saddened by his passing. He has been battling cancer for quite some time. It got better for a while and then it came back. He had a long and valiant fight.”

After more than two decades in Bucks County politics, Fitzpatrick joined 120-lawyer Obermayer in 2017 as a litigation partner and the Center City law firm soon tasked him with opening and growing a Doylestown office. The firm moved into retrofitted space at the Landmark Building at 10 S. Clinton St. that includes room to grow and now has six lawyers there.

Shapiro said Fitzpatrick’s availability ebbed and flowed due to his illness, but that he took on a leadership role and used his cachet to help Obermayer grow in Bucks County.

“I don’t know anyone that had a bad word to say about Mike,” Shapiro said. “He was such a good person. I remember three years ago, my son was a junior in high school and working on a report about gerrymandering. I asked Mike to talk to him and was expecting maybe 45 minutes of his time. They wound up spending hours talking, and then Mike followed up and kept in touch.”

Fitzpatrick was born and raised in Bucks County, graduated from Bishop Egan High School (now Conwell-Egan), St. Thomas University in Florida (1985) and the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University (1988). After practicing law for a decade, he was appointed to the Bucks County Board of Commissioners by an 11-member panel of county judges — filling the unexpired term of Mark Schweiker, who had been elected lieutenant governor.

“Bucks County and Pennsylvania has lost a fine public servant. Mike Fitzpatrick worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those he served,” Schweiker said in a statement. “As Bucks County Commissioner, and later in Congress, we could always count on Mike to fight for his fellow citizens. More than anything, I will remember him as my friend for over 40 years, and I will miss him.”

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said in a statement that Fitzpatrick served the “commonwealth and country with great integrity, competence, and dignity. During his time as a Bucks County Commissioner, and then as a member of Congress, Mike proved time and again that it is possible to work across the aisle to make progress while remaining true to one’s principles.”

Fitzpatrick maintained a private law practice while serving as County Commissioner, representing individuals, family businesses, municipal corporations and large companies, serving as legal counsel to zoning hearing boards, township governments and school districts.

Fitzpatrick was first elected as a Republican to represent Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district — which includes Bucks County and parts of Montgomery County — in 2005. He lost his initial re-election bid to Democrat Patrick Murphy in 2007 but reclaimed the seat in 2011 — returning during the interim period to Langhorne-based law firm Begley Carlin & Mandio. He was re-elected in 2012 and 2014. As a supporter of term limits, he retired in 2016 and was succeeded by his younger brother, Brian.

While in Congress, Fitzpatrick was known for being bipartisan and fighting for pro-life causes, environmental protection and term limits. He served eight years on the House Financial Services Committee, where he sponsored legislation enacted in law, including the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act, Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act and additional resources for the National Flood Insurance Program. He also chaired the Bipartisan Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Finance (2015-2016).

Fitzparick was originally diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in 2008 but went into remission after nine months of treatment.

After leaving office and joining Obermayer, Fitzpatrick once again focused on practicing law. Shapiro said he expects the Bucks County office that Fitzpatrick launched for the firm to continue to grow.

“Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family and not with the business side of things,” Shapiro said. “But because he had been battling this for so long, we were saddened but not shocked by his passing. So, we are going to carry on with that office in his legacy.”

Fitzpatrick is survived by his wife Kathleen and their six children. Funeral/viewing arrangements are as follows:

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Queen of Universe Church, 2442 Trenton Road, Levittown, PA 19056
Viewing: 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Friday, January 10, 2020
Queen of Universe Church
Viewing: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Funeral Mass: 12 noon

The original article by Jeff Blumenthal can be accessed here.

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