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Jim Mayo

Ms Liz was always such a reliable and capable volunteer at BMC Nassau. Her good humor and caring nature made her an asset to the hospital that was immeasurable.

Mary Elizabeth Hancock "Liz" Fritzsche


Mary Elizabeth Hancock Fritzsche (“Liz”), 95, passed away peacefully March 27, 2023, in Fernandina Beach. A loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, she will be dearly missed. Liz was born in Buffalo, NY in 1927 to Mary Elizabeth Fisher Hancock and William Wayne Hancock Sr. She grew up in Buffalo and Youngstown, OH, then Cleveland, where she worshipped at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and graduated from Hathaway Brown School (HBS) in 1945. A horse enthusiast, Liz chose trailblazing Sweet Briar College in Virginia where she could ride and train on campus. There she earned a BA in Mathematics in 1949, which she soon put to work as a math and science teacher back at HBS. She became an active volunteer for the Junior League of Cleveland and the Catherine Horstmann Home.

In 1952, Liz wed the love of her life, Paul Fritzsche, and became the devoted mother of Mary Wayne, Elizabeth, and Fred, and grandmother of Kyle. As an HBS parent she was appointed to the school’s governing Corporation. Liz thrived at homemaking, from ingenious birthday parties and cakes, Halloween costumes and Easter egg hunts, to Thanksgiving feasts for extended family, to deft hand painting and exquisite needlework of all sorts. Her family’s most zealous genealogist, she unraveled its ancestry before the aid of internet sources and joined the Moses Cleaveland chapter of the DAR.

Dedicating her adult life to the happiness of others, Liz turned her creative talents as a volunteer to non-profit shops Sunbeam and Homecrafters, that supported and engaged disabled and senior citizens through clothes making and craft making. She brought her math skills to bear co-managing the Sunbeam Holiday Boutique and keeping the books at Homecrafters for many years.

In 1982, Liz and Paul moved to Chicago, where she completed coursework for her BS in Accounting from Cleveland State University, then passed the Illinois CPA exam. After Paul retired, in 1993 they drove the perimeter of Florida and found their retirement paradise in Fernandina Beach. A parishioner at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Liz also joined the American Legion, Post 54, and the Amelia Island Chapter of the DAR, where she launched an American history essay contest in local schools. For over two decades, Liz began each week at Baptist Medical Center Nassau, volunteering in Medical Records and at the lobby information desk.

At home, Liz crocheted over 50 afghans for family, friends, and non-profit fund raisers, and she baked and dispatched scrumptious Toll House cookies, surprising “happy customers” nationwide. A facile writer, wordsmith, calculator and card shark, with a sweet tooth second to none, she daily tackled crosswords, Wheel of Fortune, Sudokus and solitaire to the end, all buoyed by ice cream. Ask Liz, “How are you feeling today?” and she always replied, “With my hands.”

Liz was preceded in passing by her beloved Paul and cherished brothers William Wayne Hancock, Jr. (Bill) and John Wolf Hancock. She is survived by her adoring daughters, son and grandson, and may fond nieces and nephews.

Her family extends warm gratitude to the compassionate staff and volunteers of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Angel Watch Personal Care, Community Hospice and Palliative Care, Welcome Homecare, Baptist Medical Center Nassau, and to the physicians who cared for Liz in her time of need.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (904) 261-4293, The Warner Center at Community Hospice, (904) 407-6149, American Legion, Post 54 (904) 261-7900, Hathaway Brown School at (216) 932-4214 or Sweet Briar College at (800) 381-6131.


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