Henry Edward Fidrocki, M.D. died at home on Thursday, August 15, 2013, surrounded by his loving family and friends. Henry was born on July 17, 1923 in Boston. His parents, Marie and William, were both originally from Poland. Henry grew up on Mass Ave in Boston with his sister, Eugenia and his brothers Alfred and Walter. He went to the Boston Public Schools and graduated from Boston English High School.
During World War II, Henry served with the 13th Air Force 456 Bombardier Group. He was stationed in Italy and flew many missions. Actually, Henry went into the service before he was 17 years of age as he wanted to serve his country at such a critical time; he signed up in June and his birthday was in July but it ended up working out. Henry was a Second Lieutenant and a navigator. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and Air Medal. In 1944, on his 23rd mission, Rocky, as he was known at that time, volunteered to fly with a different crew that needed a navigator. He was flying over Budapest, in an area noted for its rough flak. On that day, the flak was exceptionally thick and accurate. Immediately after Rocky released his bombs on target, his B24 Liberator plane was hit, throwing the turret doors into his face and severing his oxygen hose. Rocky was severely injured as was another man, the gunner. He had the presence of mind to pull the turret emergency release and pull the injured man from the turret. He then applied a tourniquet to the man’s leg, administered a shot of morphine and even took off his own clothing to keep the gunner warm. He then applied a compress to his own wound. He did all this without oxygen, at temperatures well below zero and having, himself, sustained a severe injury. As a result, he lost his right eye and had to retire from the service.
Henry returned to Boston and went to Boston College under the GI bill. He then went onto to Tufts Medical School, graduating in 1950. He completed his internship and residency at Boston City Hospital, where he met his future wife, Ginni (Mary) McLaughlin. Henry decided to pursue specialty training at Tufts, New England Medical Center and became a Doctor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Henry was on the staff of Lemuel Shattuck and Braintree Rehabilitation Hospitals and was a consultant to the Boston VA Medical Center.
Ginni and Hank, as he was called by the McLaughlin family, were married on May 31, 1952. They chose that date, because Ginni did not want to be a June bride. They moved to Milton, near Houghton’s Pond, where they raised their five children, Ginny, Ed, Kathy, Elaine and Billy. In 1962, they bought their beach house in Falmouth and spent many summers there. There are so many special memories and Henry loved spending time with his family and friends, especially his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Henry and Ginni enjoyed travelling and went on countless trips and cruises. He followed the Patriots and BC football and was an especially avid Red Sox fan, watching them faithfully. He was an incredibly generous man, with a wonderful sense of humor.
Henry’s family was with him when he passed away. While we miss him terribly, we have so many fond memories. We find comfort in the words of General George S. Patton, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived”.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, August 19 at 10 A.M. in Saint Elizabeth Church, 350 Reedsdale Road, Milton. Relatives and friends invited. Visiting hours will be held in the Dolan Funeral Home, 460 Granite Avenue, EAST MILTON, on Sunday from 3-7 P.M. Interment Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, MA. In lieu of flowers donations in Henry’s memory may be made to VNA Hospice Care, 100 Trade Center, G-500, Woburn, MA 0180.