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By The Suffolk Times
Dorothy “Dot” Burger was born on July 18, 1931, one of the children of Florence and Charles Burger, in an Italian-Catholic/Dutch-Protestant home. They lived in The Bronx and moved to Queens in 1947. Dorothy enjoyed school and was passionate about show business and she had a lifetime love of New York City. She won art and academic awards and one of her kindergarten “masterpieces” hangs in her granddaughter’s home today!
Never shy, her razor-sharp memory was impressive and continued into her 90s (to include her encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway and movie musicals). Although she made her own clothes, she also mastered the art of discount shopping. Her family joined Sun & Surf Beach Club in Atlantic Beach, Long Island, in 1948, and it became significant throughout much of her life — Dot met her future husband of 70 years and the love of her life, James E. Fitzgerald Jr., there. They continued to be members for many years as they built their family of four daughters, Diane, Susan, Carol and Patricia.
Dot was born to be a mom and homemaker. She was a 1950s stay-at-home mom, but there was nothing traditional about her. She was creative, clever and had the best ideas, like the pumpkin costumes she made for her girls for Halloween that won neighborhood park awards for several years! Sewing played an important role in The Fitzgerald Household. One of the girls, Carol, made a career of it, eventually designing protective gear for the U.S. Army. Baking did, too, and daughter Trish shared Dot’s interest in cooking and baking; in fact, Trish made it her after-school sport and would go home to cook with her mother! In short order, Trish became a professional chef and baker.
Dot inspired her daughters in other ways, too — her strong work ethic and approach to “if you’re going to do it, you should do it well” were apparent in everything she did, and these characteristics were inherited by her girls. Pride of work was apparent, too, in the matriarch of this lively family!
Over the years, Dot gave her time and talents to many school and community activities, including St. Anne’s Parish in Garden City, N.Y., and to Sacred Heart/Our Lady of Good Counsel in Cutchogue and Mattituck, N.Y. Her personal preference for having fun was at the center of almost everything she did. Outgoing, social and the life of the party — the children of dear friends confessed many years later to calling her “Hot Dot” because she was so cool!
Dot always focused on and enjoyed family-oriented activities, which frequently involved lifelong family friends — so many of whom she remained good friends with through the decades. Family vacations at Lake George in upstate New York and Skytop in the Poconos were always highlights! And then there were those annual Christmas Eve parties with so many friends and family, showing off Dot’s impeccable entertaining talents. 
As the girls grew older, Dot worked primarily in the retail business. But the greatest work experience for Dot was as a tour escort for 15-plus years — a living education and so much fun for her and the passengers! She even became a licensed New York City sightseeing guide. Some years later, Dot was the navigator in the chase vehicle for five of Diane and Burt’s motorcycle tours in the Pacific Northwest! When Dot and Jim moved to downtown Chicago in 2014, she became an avid student of their new city, especially its architecture and many cultural offerings. 
Sue is the mother of grandchildren Emily and Sean. When Emily was born, Dot chose “Dotsie” as her grandmother’s name. That nickname is used more often than not by family and friends.
Dot was your friend for life, which she proved to you by her famous and fabulous notes, and mailing you various clippings and remembering your birthday and special occasions. She gave new meaning to handwritten notes as a way of staying connected to those she loved dearly. Loyal and devoted, she would do anything for her friends and family.
Dot and Jim lived in several places since their 1952 wedding, beginning with an Army base in Anniston, Ala. (1952-55); Garden City, N.Y. (1955-1967, 1969-1986); Rosemont, Pa. (1967-1969); Cutchogue, N.Y. (1986 – 2013); Chicago, Ill. (2014-2020); and finally in Dover, N.H. (since 2020). Jim’s travel for work took them to Australia, the Philippines, Ireland, Italy and North and South America. Their travel for pleasure took them around the United States.
To say that Dot had a successful, full, rewarding life understates the richness she experienced, both with what she got and what she gave. She loved being appreciated by so many of the “next generation” — the children of dear friends from those many places where they lived.
Dot signed off in the way she and the family have signed off for years, by singing the song at the end of Mrs. Hennessy’s dance recitals in which the girls performed:
“Good night, folks, we’re through,
With all we had to do.
We’ve done our very best,
In entertaining you.
And as the show is ending,
Our best regards we’re sending.
And we also say to you, 
Good night, folks. Good night, folks. Good night, folks, we’re through!” 
Dot passed away on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, after a brief illness. 
In remembrance of Dot, you may care to make a donation to her cherished Sacred Heart Parish in Cutchogue. Please note on the check “In Memory of Dot Fitzgerald,” and send to: Msgr. Joseph W. Staudt, Sacred Heart Parish, P.O. Box 926, Cutchogue, NY 11935. Father Joe would like to thank you, so please include your name and address.
Also, please consider making a blood donation to the American Red Cross (redcrossblood.org). It is lifesaving.
This is a paid notice.
The Suffolk Times
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