John C. Fitzpatrick ’57, Redding business leader, philanthropist, car enthusiast and loving family man, died on July 10. John, who owned and operated McColl’s Dairy and Pepsi Cola Bottling of Northern California, was a Redding native and an active and celebrated member of the community over the course of his colorful life. John passed away at home, from natural causes related to Alzheimer’s Disease, on Sunday, July 10, 2016, four days short of his 81st birthday.
John was born in Redding on July 14, 1935 to John and Marie (nee Bryant) Fitzpatrick, the oldest of three boys (brothers Bill and Jerry). John went to Santa Clara University where he joined ROTC and studied mechanical engineering, graduating in 1957. As part of his military commitment, he worked in New Mexico with the Atomic Energy Commission as a young engineer.
While working in New Mexico in 1960, John met Betty Ahern on a blind date in Los Angeles. They became a couple as she finished her McColl’s Dairy, where he expanded and ultimately sold the business to Crystal Creamery in 1985. John then took over operations of the other family-owned business, Pepsi Cola Bottling of Northern California, significantly expanding its territory and profitability as well. Beyond these full time jobs, John invested in his local community of Redding-from developing housing subdivisions to turning around a grocery store chain to helping start the Redding Bank of Commerce.
While creating and supporting local jobs was always very important to John, he also gave back through service. He served for ten years on the city planning commission, was president of the Redding Chamber of Commerce, and served on numerous boards including the Advisory Board of Mercy Hospital Redding and the United Way of Shasta County. An active Rotarian (and President of the Redding Club in 1988-89), John was named Businessman of the Year twice, first in 1977 and again in 1998.
Philanthropically, John and Betty have helped many local organizations with fundraising. They have been key donors to Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Bishop Quinn High School, St. Francis Middle School, Northern Valley Catholic Social Services, St. Joseph’s Parish, and the new Redding Library. In 2005, John and Betty together received the City of Redding’s Philanthropist of the Year Award, just the second time such an honor had been given.
John, Betty and their family enjoyed many travels in the U.S. and abroad throughout their time together. And while he was a very driven man who was always on the move, John’s cornerstone values were honesty and integrity. He felt that a life well lived meant being challenged, contributing to society and improving whatever you worked on-whether it was a car, a business, a community organization or a city. A good life was a life of progress and making a positive difference.
John is predeceased by his parents John and Marie Fitzpatrick and brothers Jerome Fitzpatrick and William Fitzpatrick. John is survived by his wife of 53 years, Betty Fitzpatrick; his children Sean Fitzpatrick of Chico, CA; Kacey Fitzpatrick (Deborah Kilpatrick) of Los Altos, CA; Bryan Fitzpatrick of Redding, CA; and Adam Fitzpatrick Amanda) of Portland, OR; and grandchildren Kael, Sam and Max. John will be dearly missed by his family and friends.