Spring 2002, pg. 72. Remember Buzzy.


Maine Bar Journal


Spring 2002, pg. 72.

Remember Buzzy

Maine Bar JournalSpring 2002Remember BuzzyHARRISON RICHARDSONThe death of Duane D. "Buzzy" Fitzgerald on February 8 at age sixty-two marked the end of two great careers: first as an outstanding trial lawyer, a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; and then as chief operating officer and subsequently chief executive officer of Bath Iron Works Corporation.

To me and many others privileged to know him well, Buzzy Fitzgerald was much more than the outstanding lawyer, successful businessman, and public person described in the press. Buzz Fitzgerald personified integrity. It was his defining virtue. I never heard anyone question his honor. As we all know, one of the delights of practicing law in Maine is that, most of the time, the word of another lawyer is "good." Time after time, he brought his personal integrity to the practice of law, to his service as chief executive officer of BIW, and to years and years of public interest leadership.

It has always seemed to me that the really good trial lawyers have "presence"-that mixture of poise and self-assurance that marks them in such a way that when they enter a meeting, you know they are there. Buzzy-a short, bald guy with none of the official or unofficial trappings of position, no affectations, no evidence of vanity in dress or manner-had that same presence. I cannot define it, but I know it when I see it, or hear it: Buzzy's voice had a unique timbre that conveyed reassurance, honesty, and intelligence.

He was also the most perfect imperfect man I ever knew.

Buzzy's blemishes and imperfections were very much a part of what made him so lovable. He was absurdly impatient, a product of his efficiency and his enormous energy. Those of us who knew him well could only cringe at the thought of him standing in line to get a ticket or waiting to board a plan. Once, trying a case in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, Buzzy insisted on pacing all over the courtroom until finally the exasperated judge ordered him to remain within two feet of the lectern at all times. And his meetings at BIW were legendary. He kept them short, crisp, and on-focus, so that he could get back to work. Woe to the person who showed up late.

Buzzy lived every day of his life with the Latin maxim carpe diem in mind. He had no time to...

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