- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NORFOLK (AP) — Joseph T. Fitzpatrick, former state senator and state Democratic chairman, died July 12. He was 77. The cause of death was not reported.

Mr. Fitzpatrick was chairman of the state Democratic Party for most of the 1970s and was part of the power structure that eventually toppled the remnants of the segregationist political machine created by the late Sen. Harry F. Byrd.

Mr. Fitzpatrick also was a state senator from 1976 to 1981 and a Democratic nominee for Congress in 1970.

He served 20 years as Norfolk’s treasurer before retiring in 2001.

“In his day, he was a giant of a political figure and a great public servant,” Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim said.

Mr. Fitzpatrick was immortalized in Garrett Epps’ 1977 novel “The Shad Treatment,” in which he was fictionally portrayed as Knocko Cheatham, a relentless campaign manager for a liberal Virginia gubernatorial candidate.

Mr. Fitzpatrick, one of three sons of a plumber, got hooked on politics in the 1960s, when he worked for John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

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