VALE BILL: Dalby real estate icon farewelled
Dalby has farewelled one of its true blue business icons this year, with the passing of Fitzsimmons Real Estate founder William “Bill” Fitzsimmons.
Passing away at the age of 88 on January 3, 2021, Bill leaves behind a lasting legacy of honesty, hard work, and a genuine love for people.
Born in Dalby in 1932, Bill’s life changed forever at the age of three when his father Bernard Fitzsimmons passed away, leaving his mother Myrtle Geisel to raise three boys, while pregnant with her fourth.
Bill took to working on the land during his formative years, working across the Western Downs in areas such as Dalby, Ranges Bridge, and Ducklo, with his iconic Dunlop Volleys strapped to his feet.
During his time working in the paddocks, Bill grew to love the serenity of regional Queensland, while forging lasting friendships along the way.
His son Michael said his love for people is what defined his father, who would relish the opportunity to chat to someone, whether it was about real estate or fishing.
“He was down to earth, and everyone knew him as a gentleman,” Michael said.
“He never whinged, or griped, he always took everything in his stride, he was a professional,” his son Andrew said.
During his working stints in dairies, farms, service stations and machinery sales, he would meet his future wife Donna Rayner, promising to himself he would marry her one day.
He fulfilled his promise in 1954, before they built their dream home in Myall St some time later.
They had five children together, which included Michael, Kaye, Andrew, Anne-Maree, and Kenneth - who passed away at two days old.
His foray into real estate began in 1969, when he and Donna purchased Higginbotham Real Estate for $2,500.
Left with only $100 to their name, a legacy was born, with Fitzsimmons Real Estate running to this day.
Due to the early start of working career from such a young age, Bill wanted to provide for his family, taking the opportunity to explore parts of regional Queensland together.
“Growing up as kids, we had a sheltered life compared to dad, because he had been working since he was 13-years-old,” Michael said.
“That’s fairly tough as it is, and then to lose your father at three, and to survive after that, just shows the type of man he was.”
Even though he spent many hours working, he would always find time to help out at tennis socials, the Dalby P & C, the Rotary Club, and the Chamber of Commerce.
His wife Donna sadly passed away due to illness after 51 fruitful years.
Fate drew him to fellow widower Val Black in 2007, and they came together to build a joyful life during their twilight years in Dalby.
His daughter Anne-Maree, in her words, believed her generous, hardworking, self-made dad cared for his family, even when life was challenging during his early years.
“Despite not knowing his own father, he was the best father, father-in-law, and grandfather anyone could ask for,” she said.
“It is truly an honour to call him dad.
“When life threw new challenges, he worked out a solution himself, and just kept working.
“We will never forget you dad.”