John Joseph Fitz Gerald III, 80, of Midas, Nev., and Brookings, died March 7, 2002, at The Life Care Center of Reno, Nev., after a brief illness.

He was born in Santa Rosa, Calif., Sept. 28, 1921, where he attended schools including Santa Rosa High School. There he participated in sports, receiving many honors and also held records in track and field events. He excelled in football and went on to play semiprofessional football for the Santa Rosa Bone Crushers.

Mr. Fitz Gerald served four years in the Navy during World War II in Naval Air Technical Training stationed in Pearl Harbor.

He worked many years for Guanella Tractor Co. and Freeman Toyota, both in Santa Rosa.

While a long-time resident of Santa Rosa he served as president and member of the Empire Aero Club, Elks Lodge for 47 years, and served as a colonel in the Civil Air Patrol in which he flew many search and rescue missions.

He enjoyed many years fishing and camping along the Sonoma County Coast and local rivers and streams.

After retirement, he divided his life between Midas and Brookings. During this time he traveled to participate in competitions provided by the Pitt River Black Powder Club.

As an avid hunter and outdoorsman he recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of hunting in Africa.

He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 50 years, Audrey Lorraine Fitz Gerald.

He is survived by children, Jacquelyn Ward of Morgan Hill, Calif.; Barbara Geney of Santa Rosa; Benjamin Fitz Gerald of Brookings; four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren; and his companion, B. Petey Ford of Midas.

A private family memorial was March 9 in Reno to celebrate his life.