Virginia Maxine Fitzgerald

maxinefitzgeraldVirginia Maxine Fitzgerald, 75, of Roanoke, departed this life on Saturday, August 14, 202, at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. “Maxine” as she was affectionately called was born on October 5, 1945, to the late Louis and Lucy Fitzgerald of Vinton, VA. She was also preceded in death by her grandmother, Effie B. Jones.

Maxine was the oldest of four siblings, SMSGT (Retired) Donald L. (Francisca) Fitzgerald, of Brandon, FL, Bernice Fitzgerald (Joe) Gaither, of Roanoke, VA and Wilson “Billy” Fitzgerald of Roanoke, VA. Maxine was blessed with nine nieces and nephews and ten great-nieces and great-nephews. We can’t forget “Luna” the dog, her special and faithful friend to the end.

Maxine attended the Roanoke County School System, graduating from GW Carver as Valedictorian in 1964. She went on to apply and be accepted as the First African-American at Roanoke College in Salem, VA. She graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology in 1969. Maxine furthered her education receiving her master’s degree from Radford University in 1975. She was employed at the VA Medical Center in Salem, VA until she retired in 1995.

Maxine loved bowling, traveling, eating, but most of all she loved her family. She especially loved her St. John AME Church family. She definitely was a trailblazer as being a Kidney donor to her brother Billy. It was the first transplant operation of this kind at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Hence, a part of Maxine still lives on.

Several years later Maxine suffered from a stroke, but that did not hinder her from living by herself, driving her own car, doing her own shopping, doctor visits, and attending church. Maxine was loved by many and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Condolences may be sent to

To read about her history-making entry to Roanoke College:

To see an interview with Maxine Fitzgerald, visit

Front page story in Roanoke Times on August 20, 2021:
‘Trailblazer’ Maxine Fitzgerald opened doors as first full-time Black student at Roanoke College

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