John Aloysius Gillitzer, 80, passed away on Friday, June 7, at Four Winds Manor in Verona.
He was born Feb. 25, 1933 just a few miles off the Mississippi River near Eastman, the son of Thomas and Mamie (Hurda) Gillitzer. He was one of five children.
John’s mother always believed that busy hands kept Johnny out of trouble. He spent many years working on 4-H projects, but found his true passion in retirement with scroll saw work. Many beautiful pieces were created and he won many ribbons honing his special craft. In 2000 he won “Best in Show” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for his 23rd Psalm. This labor of love took over 200 hours to make. He was so proud of it that he made a second one and donated it to St. Christopher’s Parish in Verona.
John spent many years as a laborer and carpenter by trade. He and Edith built both houses the family lived in. They even chopped down trees from the Eastman farmstead and brought them back to Verona to build their first home together. He also worked many years as maintenance supervisor at Holy Name Seminary in Madison, Sacred Hearts Parish in Sun Prairie and Verona High School until his retirement in 1994.
On February 27, 1954, he married Edith Sager of Lancaster. Through this union, they created four wonderful daughters, Kathleen (Dennis) Virnig of Waunakee, Marcia (Alan) Virnig of Windsor, Margaret (David) Hoffman of Blanchardville and Patricia Richards of Lodi. Not only is he survived by his wife of 59 years and children, he is further survived by six grandchildren, Brian (Eileen) Virnig, Crystal (Nicholas) Pahl, Mark Virnig, Ross Virnig, Steven Hoffman, and Lindsay Richards; five great-grandchildren, Rana (Fran), Alec, Chloe, Ian and Teagan; a sister, Lorraine (Roger) Richter; sister-in-law, Anna Gillitzer; brother-in-law, Kenneth Sager; and many nieces and nephews.
John was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Thomas; a sister Genevieve Secord and an infant sister Helen Gillitzer; brothers-in-law, Dennis Check, Virgil Sager and Bob Secord; and sister-in-law, Ruth Sager.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Saint Christopher Parish, St. Andrew Church, 301 N. Main St., Verona on Wednesday, June 12, at 10:30 a.m. with Father William Vernon presiding. Burial in St. Andrews Cemetery will follow. Visitation will be held at the church on Wednesday from 9 a.m. until the time of service. In lieu of flowers, memorials in John’s name can be made to American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Heartland Hospice or Saint Christopher’s Parish.
The family would like to thank all the wonderful people who cared for him at Four Winds Manor and Heartland Hospice.