Helena Public Schools trustee Lois Fitzpatrick dies from cancer

Phil Drake

The Helena Public Schools board Tuesday announced the death of board member Lois Fitzpatrick, calling her a “courageous” advocate for education.

Fitzpatrick, 70, died Friday at St. Peter’s Hospital from cancer, school officials and family members said. 

Board Chair Siobhan Hathhorn announced Fitzpatrick’s death and started the meeting with 30 seconds of silence.

“Most people don’t know Lois’ story, she was a cancer survivor from 20 years ago and graciously ran for the board and was unaware of any illness,” Hathhorn said. She said the day Fitzpatrick was to be sworn into office she had a diagnosis showing a recurrence of cancer.

Hathhorn said Fitzpatrick rarely missed a meeting and attended online.

“She was very committed,” she said.

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She said Fitzpatrick’s husband Bill wanted everyone to know that Lois cared very deeply about schools and serving on the board. He also wanted to relay that Fitzpatrick “was quite a spitfire.”

“And he said we only saw 25% of her fire and he just wished we could have experienced her full blast,” Hathhorn said, adding the board would move forward with what they need to do as a board

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