Eddie Fitzpatrick, a longtime arts and features editor for the Maine Sunday Telegram, died Monday from complications of congestive heart failure. He was 83.

As features editor, Mr. Fitzpatrick oversaw coverage of Portland’s arts community for nearly three decades. He left the Portland newspapers in 1991 to pursue his passion for food and became an owner of the once popular Pepperclub restaurant in Portland.

Mr. Fitzpatrick, who lived on Portland’s Munjoy Hill, was remembered this past week as a lighthearted, charismatic man who shared his love of art and food with everyone.

“He loved living here,” said Diane Hudson, his partner of nearly 30 years. “He loved living on the hill. He would wake up every morning and say, ‘Boy, we’re the luckiest guys in the world.’ ”

Mr. Fitzpatrick had much to be grateful for.

In 1954, he married the former June Bradley in their native England. Together the Fitzpatricks raised a son, Nicholas, now of Portland.

In 1964, the family left England and Mr. Fitzpatrick joined the Maine Sunday Telegram. As features editor, he worked tirelessly to promote Maine arts and artists. He did so by hiring iconic art critics such as the late Philip Isaacson, Sherry Miller and others.

Larry Hayden, an artist and friend, said Mr. Fitzpatrick was always pushing to ignite Portland’s art scene. He said Mr. Fitzpatrick gave many artists and writers, including him, their first big break.

“I got a full-page spread,” Hayden recalled. “Eddie was a booster. He did that for many people. He was at the center of so many things that happened with the arts in Portland.”

Andy Verzosa, a friend and former owner of Aucocisco Galleries in Portland, said Mr. Fitzpatrick took a keen interest in his shows and the artists.

“Eddie was such a great guy,” Verzosa said. “He always had nice things to say. He was very complimentary. He always had a great story to tell. He was just Eddie. He was a real people person. He was really quite congenial.”

As co-owner of the former Pepperclub, one of Portland’s first from-scratch restaurants, Mr. Fitzpatrick was instrumental in developing its popular and creative vegetarian menu. He was also known for his Indian dishes.

Mary Paine, his former business partner, credits Mr. Fitzpatrick for their success.

“He made great scratch food for a really good value,” Paine said, recalling the years they cooked together. “The one thing Eddie and I shared was a love for cooking food. We supported each other in making really good food and had a common goal of feeding people we cared about. That was the way Eddie cared for people – cooking for them.”

Friends recalled the lavish dinners Mr. Fitzpatrick hosted with his partner, Hudson. The events brought together artists, foodies and creative types across southern Maine.

“There was always lots of good people and lots of good food,” said Richard Wilson, an artist and longtime friend. “His parties were almost cathartic. They were so much fun. A lot of laughing and dancing. He loved to turn up the music and dance.”

After he left the Portland newspapers, Mr. Fitzpatrick was an active supporter of Portland’s arts, theater and restaurant scene. He also had a lifelong love for the outdoors. He enjoyed fishing, camping and canoeing on the Allagash River.

“He loved it,” Hudson said, laughing as she recalled the first time he took her canoeing. “He took me to Parlin Stream near Jackman. We put the canoe in and the water was frozen. He loved it so much he couldn’t wait to show me.”

In his early years, Mr. Fitzpatrick was a foster parent for infants and a strong advocate for the mentally ill.

June Fitzpatrick, a well-known art dealer and longtime Portland gallery owner, said Saturday his life was one of adventure.

“He was fearless in his pursuits,” she said. “He never did anything in an ordinary way. He went down his own road. It was always wonderful to accompany him on that road. You never knew what was coming next.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MelanieCreamer

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