Fittante honored by Altrusa

ESCANABA – The Altrusa Club of Escanaba recently installed Patt Fittante as its third honorary member. She was preceded by Bruce Hanson and Mary Ellen Fassbender.

The fifth of eight children, Fittante was born in Escanaba and is a graduate of Escanaba High School. During her high school years, she participated in many activities such as cheerleading, majoretting, musicals and plays, editor of the “Escanaban,” Motorboard, and National Honor.

After graduation, she attended Northern Michigan College (later Northern Michigan University) on a scholarship which paid for her tuition ($70 per semester).

By the age of 20, she had graduated from college, gotten married and began her career as a teacher in Ishpeming. After four years of teaching, her family moved to Fond du lac, Wis, where they spent the next 10 years and she became a stay-at-home mom to her three children. After her husband, Tony, took a job with Northern Michigan Bank and the family returned to the local area.

When her youngest, Marty, was in high school a friend suggested she try being a substitute teacher in the Escanaba Schools. At that point she thought if she didn’t go back now she never would. For five years she was a sub. Then came the turning point.

While subbing, a fellow teacher who was on the Library Board mentioned that the Children’s Librarian at the library was retiring and said,” Why don’t you apply for the job?”

Fitante thought to herself, “Is this lady nuts? A Children’s Librarian! I know nothing about libraries.” However, a few days later she thought, “You know what? You wouldn’t have to get up at 6 a.m. and wait for the phone to ring. You would be going to the same place every day and working with children. Why not apply? Who says you can’t learn on the job and if I don’t like it, I can always quit!”

She applied for the position, was accepted and the rest is history.

Now people frequently ask her, “When are you ever going to retire?”

Her answer: “When God tells me I have to. When you love your work and you love the kids, why would you quit?”

And when the children ask her, “Mrs. Fittante, how old are you?”

Her answer to that is, “Age is just a number and mine is unlisted!”

The goal of the Altrusans is to make their communities better through leadership, partnership and service. Literacy is an area of focus for Altrusans.

“Patt Fittante has made a notable difference in the community through her service in literacy as a librarian,” said sister Altrusan, Cathy Gerou. “She is truly ‘Leading to a Better Community’ and well desiring of the Altrusa Honorary member designation.”