William Hart Fitzgerald, Jr.

William Hart Fitzgerald Jr., 76, of Scranton, Pa., passed away peacefully on Aug. 4, 2023, surrounded by his wife and children.

Bill (Billy, Pop-pop, Coach, Grandpa, Fitz) was born in Utica, N.Y., and raised in Needham, Mass. He graduated from Boston College High School and Boston College, a “rare” Double Eagle as he surely wanted you to know. As he was wicked smart, he was an avid fan of the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots. Hockey was an anchor in his life. He learned how to skate in his own backyard off Great Plain Avenue, went on to play for BC High and BC, coached the University of Scranton hockey team for over 15 years, led off-ice officiating for the WBS Penguins, and played a key role in launching youth hockey in Northeast Pa. with the development of the Pocono Pirates program.

He also had an illustrious career as a horseman, where he trained and raced championship horses up and down the East Coast for 20 years. For the last 30 years, he owned and operated Northern Car Rental in Scranton.

Bill is survived by his loving and dedicated wife, Linda; his best friend and sister, Mindy (Fitzgerald) Smith, of Old Orchard Beach, Maine; his daughter, Nicole and husband, Greg, of Dunmore; his son, Rocco and wife, Erin, of Scranton; his son, Michael and wife, Kaitlyn, of Plymouth Meeting; his daughter, Mariel and husband, Kevin, of Doylestown; his son, Daniel and wife, Isabel, of Ipswich, Mass.; and his 12 beautiful grandkids (with one on the way) who “Pop-pop” adored. He joins his eagerly awaiting mother, Dorothy, and father, William Sr., in Heaven.

Bill was the quintessential family man who loved all of us so deeply. We will remember him forever by his big heart, his selflessness, his remarkable sense of humor and wit, his laugh and his smile.

The family wants to acknowledge and thank the wonderful caregivers at Wesley Village, Allied Services and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

Visiting hours and memorial service will be held at Vanston & James Funeral Home at 1401 Ash St., Scranton, on Friday, Aug. 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. (www.VanstonAndJames.com).

In lieu of flowers or donations, please consider honoring our Dad by making memories at a sporting event with those you love most.


  1. Jeff Grable '95

    God Bless Coach Bill…
    A life well lived,
    Thanks for your support, you were not forgotten

  2. Joseph Anastasi

    I owned Avoca Auto and Avoca rental . Bill and I did a lot of business together. I remember when I would stop by, he always had a vintage black and white movie on. He was so proud of his children. A good man, with a big heart. He was a character to say the least . It was nice to see a touching obituary. We had a mutual friend , Rick Freeman, who just recently passed away . If there is a hustle in heaven, those two will find it. I feel privileged to have known him.

  3. Joe and Arline Vaslavek

    Joe and I are deeply sorry to learn of Bill’s passing. He was a great friend that would do anything for you. He would give you the shirt of his back if you needed it. We has been greatly missed.

  4. Geoff Keenan (aka Walpole)

    We’re so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I wouldn’t have made it through college without Coach Bill’s support. Thank for everything you did for me and I know you are in company on the other side.

  5. Andrej ‘Slavy’ Brchnel

    God bless you, Coach Bill. Thank you for all you did for me in the short time I knew you.

    May you rest in peace.

  6. Mark Levy

    Bill was a great friend of mine. After my brother passed away, he filled the void that was left with my brothers passing. He will never leave my heart or mind. Rest In Peace, my dear friend.

  7. Dennis Barnett

    God bless coach Bill. Rest in peace. A good coach and a better man.

  8. Ed and Rita Kocis

    Linda and family,
    We are saddened to learn about Bill’s passing. He (and your family) were a major chapter in our life story. All those hockey practices, trips and games were all very special. At first it was the Wings, then the Pirates, the Spring Bobcats and the Prep High School team. So many memories and Bill was front and center in all of them. Our kids have wonderful memories because Coach Bill knew the emphasis on youth hockey should be the fun of it. If they did not enjoy the game they would not continue to play the game. Thanks Coach for your valuable time talent and life lessons.

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