Leon “Mr. Z” Zitske, age 94 years, of Bear Creek passed away on Friday, October 7, 2011 at Kindred Hearts of New London. Leon Edward Zitske was born on January 16, 1917 in Town of Dale, Outagamie County, to Frank and Adeline (Sommer) Zitske. He entered the U.S. Army serving from October of 1942 to November of 1945 in the 12th Armored Division which fought in France and Germany during W.W.II. Leon was wounded in January of 1945 and taken prisoner in Germany with 48 of his C Company buddies. He received numerous commendations, most importantly the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Clusters. He was united in marriage on July 14, 1945 to Arbutus “Honey” Affeldt at Grace Lutheran Church, Bear Creek. The couple dairy farmed in the Bear Creek area until 1971. Honey preceded him in death on Feb. 4, 1968. After farming Leon owned and operated “Mr. Z’s” tavern in Bear Creek until his retirement in 1985. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church – Sugar Bush, a Life Member of the Bear Creek VFW Post #2663, and he served 2 terms with the Bear Creek School Board. Leon enjoyed playing card games like sheepshead and poker, he liked playing bingo, and watching the Packers, Brewers and the San Francisco Giants. He especially loved watching his grandson’s baseball games and spending time with other family members and friends. Survivors include his daughter, Diane (Al) Wendt of New London, and three grandchildren, Stacey (Steve) Wendt-Kaisler of Madison, Lucas “Luke” (special friend Wendy Miller) Wendt of Windsor, and Julie Knapp of New London. Leon is further survived by a sister, Helen Schmidt of Mena-sha, and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by his wife, Arbutus “Honey”, a son, Darrell, a brother, Fred (Della) Zitske, two sisters, Erna (Si) Walker and Mary (Rob) Pietz, a brother-in-law, Harvey Schmidt, and a nephew, Steve Zitske.
The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff at Kindred Hearts, especially Jeannette, Jill, and Dawn, for the wonderful care given to Leon. Also a thank you to all the Heartland Hospice staff for the compassion shown, especially nurse Katie.
Funeral service was held on Monday, October 10th at 1:00 PM at Grace Lutheran Church, Sugar Bush. Rev. Preston Heuer officiated and burial will be at a later date at Graceland Cemetery, Clintonville. Military Honors will be provided by members of the VFW Post #664 and American Legion Post #63, both of Clintonville. Friends called on Monday from 10:00 AM until time of service at the church. The Beil-Didier Funeral Home, Clintonville, is assisting the family. Online condolences may be sent via www.beil-didier.com.