Miss Texas 1985
JONNA FITZGERALD is a violinist of national renown. Representing her home state as Miss Texas 1985, Jonna thrilled audiences from coast to coast in September 1985 with her rendition of the “Orange Blossom Special” during the nationwide television broadcast of the Miss America Pageant prior to being named 2nd Runner Up to Miss America 1986.
Jonna was also recognized with the prestigious Preliminary Talent Award at the 1986 Miss America Pageant after receiving a rare standing ovation in Atlantic City’s Convention Hall for her rousing fiddle performance. During her reign as Miss Texas 1985 which coincided with the Texas Sesquicentennial, Jonna made more appearances than any prior titleholder in pageant history. She has appeared in commercials, television programs and feature films such as the 700 Club, ABC News 20/20, and Gambler III starring Kenny Rogers.
Jonna was a featured entertainer for the 1985 Vice-Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. as a member of Johnnie High’s Country Music Revue. Through the years she has shared the stage with artists such as Janie Fricke, Jerry Clower, Frenchie Burke, Mason Dixon, Larry Gatlin, Shoji Tabuchi, Johnnie Gimble, and Charlie Daniels. The Country Music Revue Association named Jonna “Instrumentalist of the Year” in 1989. Jonna has performed on stages all over the world from Ireland to Thailand, and in venues ranging from rodeo arenas to Las Vegas showrooms. She has also had the highly esteemed honor of performing in the internationally acclaimed Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, and is the first fiddler to play the National Anthem for the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
Jonna is an honor graduate of Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington, and also attended Texas Christian University. She was inducted into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society at U.T.A., included in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and named Most Outstanding Student in Radio/TV at U.T.A.
Jonna was employed as Southwest Regional Marketing Executive for Caesars World Marketing prior to returning home to her East Texas roots in 1998. As senior News Anchor and Community Relations Coordinator for KETK-NBC56 News in Tyler, Texas, Jonna anchored the evening newscasts and hosted the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration each year before leaving the news desk in December 2004. Jonna provided the first glimpse of a grown-up “Baby Jessica” to the world through an exclusive first television interview with Jessica McClure in 2003. She has also served as co-host for the television broadcast of the annual Texas Rose Festival Parade.
Jonna is now Congressional District Director for U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX). She is responsible for staff and operations of Congressman Gohmert’s five offices located in the First Congressional District of Texas, comprised of twelve counties and more than 700,000 constituents in East Texas. Jonna acts as legislative liaison between the district and Washington, D.C., in addition to representing the Congressman at official meetings and events throughout the congressional district.
She is a member of Texas Therapy Animals, Texas Old Time Fiddlers’ Association, American Quarter Horse Association and the American Miniature Horse Association. Jonna served on the Board of Directors for the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau and the American Heart Association. She has participated in numerous charitable events across East Texas including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk, American Heart Association Heart Walk, and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Cattle Barons’ Gala. She has previously served with the Tyler Rotary Club, East Texas Pineywoods Cattlewomen’s Association/ Texas Cattlewomen’s Association, Therapet Animal Assisted Therapy Foundation, Junior League of Tyler, Women’s Symphony League, Smith County Habitat for Humanity/Women Build, United Way of Smith County, East Texas State Fair Association Board of Directors, Tyler Youth Orchestra Board of Directors, Tyler Executive Women’s Network, American Cancer Society/Smith County Unit, and the advisory board for the Girl Scouts of Tejas Council.
Jonna remains in constant demand as a speaker and guest performer for events all over East Texas and after more than four decades in the spotlight, she still loves to perform whenever possible.