Howard Lee Hetzer died on May 20, 2014 in a serene setting overlooking tall pines and the Wisconsin River at the Stevens Point Care Center.
Howard had Parkinson’s Disease for over 15 years. Not once did he complain about the disabilities and many challenges he encountered as a result of PD. He was born October 31, 1925 in the home of his grandparents, Mary (Rohrdanz) and George Hetzer, on McCulloch Street, Stevens Point, WI. He moved one block south to Dixon Street, where he grew up with his parents, Mae (Kragel) and Wilfred Hetzer, sister Alice and brother Lawrence. He worked with his grandfather and father at Hetzer’s Service on Church Street. Yet another block away! He eventually owned and operated Hetzer’s Service, repairing automobiles and selling Schwinn bicycles, Mobil Gas and a variety of items including fishing gear and model car kits. He was also a skilled locksmith, who was called many evenings to rescue helpless people who were locked out of their homes or cars. During those years, Howard was active in Jaycees, worked as a Little League umpire, American Legion Post 6, South Side Business Association and Izaak Walton League, Bill Cook Chapter. He had always respected nature and wildlife conservation.
Upon graduation from P.J. Jacob’s High in 1943 he enlisted in the United States Navy. He studied sonar in Key West, FL. As a Sonarman 2nd Class he was stationed on Patrol Craft (PC) #1186 was a submarine chaser, patrolling the oceans from New York to Cuba, to and through the Panama Canal over a dozen times. Howard truly honored his time serving his Country. After WWII, Howard attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He graduated with a degree in electronics.
Not only was Howard intelligent, he was creative and witty. Howard married Katherine Hope on June 25, 1948 at his grandparent’s cottage on Columbia Lake, Waupaca Chain. After the marriage, Howard and Katie raised their three daughters on Center Street, yet another block away from where he was born! He would walk or ride his bicycle to work every day for over 40 years. A true “South Sider!” After retirement in 1987 he and Katie settled into the Waupaca “cottage.” Winter months would find them sailing the Caribbean on tall ship vessels. They enjoyed snorkeling in tranquil bays and toasting rum punch with fellow Windjammer mates. Such festivities included costume parties where Howard would appear dressed as a very glamorous lady. He had good looking legs! The couple also traveled all fifty states and numerous foreign countries, Africa being their favorite adventure. They also planned their P.J. Jacob’s Class Reunions every five years, from 1948 until the 70th reunion, which Howard planned and attended in 2013. Katie died June 12, 2010 in Waupaca. Howard looked forward to weekly card games with his buddies, Jim Feigleson, Bob Meronek and Ed “Monk” Peltier. They played Schmear: “A simple game for simple minded people!” Also a great time for story telling about fishing trips at the “Schack” and other historic events!
Howard’s legacy includes three daughters, Suzi (Ray) Curler, Greta (Dennis) Schroeder and Nancy (Jim) Westenberger. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Felicity (Brian) Rafalski and Danny, Evan and Matthew; Kevin (Lauren) Curler; Beth (Patrick) Crenshaw, and Gavin; Phillip Howard Houston; Brian (Kim) Curler; and Carol (Bob) Schroeder and Alyssa, Jenna and Brandon. Also surviving are sister Alice (Olaf) Grimsbo, brother Lawrence Hetzer, and cousins Bonnie (Dale) Kenny, Jim (Pat) Hetzer and Carol (Mel) Schneeberg.
A Celebration of Howard’s life will be held on Thursday, May 29, 2014 from 2 p.m. until everyone is happy, at Simpson’s Restaurant, Waupaca, WI. Please join us. Memorials may be designated in Howard’s recognition to the Isaak Walton League, Bill Cook Chapter. Online condolences may be made at www.bostonfuneralhome.net. Heartfelt thanks to the many care givers Howard had while living at Whispering Pines Lodge and stays at Portage County Health Care, St. Michael’s Hospital and especially Stevens Point Care Center. You are all true angels. “In Himmel es gibts kein Bier. Darum trinken wir uns hier!” (45 degree Point Special please!) Boston Funeral Home, Stevens Point is assisting the family.