Phillip H. Fitz-Gerald, 97, a retired Navy rear admiral who was a highly decorated combat veteran of World War II, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 30 at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood, Minn. Adm. Fitz-Gerald, a Springfield resident, was visiting his grandchildren when he died.
During World War II, he was a gunnery officer on the cruiser New Orleans and the commander of a destroyer and then of a destroyer division. He was in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by the Japanese navy on Dec. 7, 1941, and later served in the historic battles of the Coral Sea and Midway.
Adm. Fitz-Gerald's wartime decorations included the Navy Cross, the Navy's highest award for valor except for the Medal of Honor, and the Legion of Merit with combat "v."
After the war, he commanded a destroyer squadron and was assigned to the office of chief of naval operations. His last assignment before retiring from active duty in 1955 was as chief of the naval mission to Peru.
Adm. Fitz-Gerald, a native of Nashville, was a 1925 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Before World War II, he attended Submarine School.
From the late 1950s to the early 1970s, Adm. Fitz-Gerald was a lobbyist with Engineers Inc.
Adm. Fitz-Gerald, an avid golfer, was a member of the Army Navy Country Club.
His wife of 62 years, Mildred Dunn, died in 1993.
Survivors include his daughter, Nancy C. FitzGerald of Springfield; three granddaughters; and five great-grandchildren.