Theresa Terri Macchietto Fitzgerald Sep 13, 1956 – Feb 24, 2016 SPECIAL NEEDS ADVOCATE AND PIONEER TERRI FITZGERALD DIES: Childrens Respite Care Center (CRCC) CEO and Co-founder Terri Fitzgerald died Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, following a valiant ten-month battle with cancer. She died at home, surrounded by her family. The family will receive friends Wednesday, March 2nd, from 5pm to 7pm at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, 15353 Pacific, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm at the church. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Thursday, March 3rd at 10:30am at St. Wenceslaus Church. She is survived by her husband, John Fitzgerald, daughter Meaghan Walls, son-in-law Pete Walls and granddaughter Avery; and daughter Kathleen Folkerts, son-in-law Matt Folkerts and granddaughter Aviana. She is also survived by her parents, Joe and Edie Macchietto, her sisters, Karen DeHeer, Susan Hughes and Christine Johnson, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. Fitzgerald was born and raised in Omaha, NE, where she dedicated her life nurturing children, especially those with special needs. With degrees in Education and Business, Fitzgerald began her career as a classroom teacher in Omaha before embarking on her mission to serve the special needs population. She was involved with the Foster Care Review Board, was an Advisory Council member of the Respite Resource Coalition, and served on many local committees and task forces whose purpose is to assist families with children with special needs. Terri and her sister, Christine Johnson, recognized an unmet need in Omaha to provide daycare for children with physical and intellectual needs. Their work led to the founding of the Children’s Respite Care Center in 1990. Twenty-five years later, under Fitzgerald’s continuing leadership, the organization has provided services to thousands of children and families with a comprehensive array of programs. An innovator in the area of special needs care, CRCC recruited and trained a team of skilled professionals to offer a comprehensive care model for special needs children and their families. Programs include help with basic needs such as feeding and hygiene, skilled nursing care, behavioral health treatment, weekend respite, summer camp, and therapies including physical, occupational and speech. Fitzgerald forged new territory and broke down barriers to gain Children’s Respite Care Center (CRCC) recognition as one of the most innovative and effective programs of its kind in the region. She worked with state officials and other stakeholders to secure state contracts and create a new licensing category, Children’s Day Health Services, through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Working collaboratively with local charitable foundations and donors, Fitzgerald raised capital funds to build two uniquely designed facilities for special needs children. The first building, located at 88th and Blondo, opened its doors in 2004. Nestled in a park-like setting, the location offers day services as well as overnight, and weekend respite care. As the demand for skilled care and therapy grew, another center was built in 2014 at 138th and Q Street. The newer facility also offers a therapeutic gym and private treatment rooms. Though highly recognized in her field, Fitzgerald more often celebrated the successes of the children in her care. She was quoted as saying, Our children make progress in inches, not yards. We celebrate every inch. Childrens Respite Care Center Chairman of the Board Mike Lebens said Fitzgeralds legacy can be measured in miles, and her accomplishments will continue to inspire. Terri’s visionary leadership built an organization that provides critically important services to children with special needs in our community, said Lebens. She felt the mission of the CRCC was enduring, and her hope was that it would continue to be an example of what we can accomplish when we come together with a common purpose and a shared passion. We cant express how much she will be missed, but the entire community has been enriched because she was here. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Children’s Respite Care Center (CRCC), 5321 S 138th Street, Omaha, NE 68137, crccomaha.org.
HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK & CUTLER Mortuaries and Crematories 5108 F Street Omaha, Nebraska 68117 (402) 391-3900