Jack was the eldest son, born June 10, 1930 in Milwaukee to Lyda and Omar Bittman. He graduated from Marquette University High School in 1948, briefly attended Marquette University, and then joined the U.S. Navy in 1950, serving on the U.S.S. Toledo CA-133 as an Electronics Technician during the Korean War. After the war, Jack served as a NATO Electronics Attaché for the U.S. Navy in Italy, Turkey, and other parts of Europe. After his honorable discharge in 1955, he worked for the Wisconsin Telephone Co., in Milwaukee, and then headed to Alaska with the Federal Electric Corporation, where he was the Auxiliary Station Chief managing a Distant Early Warning Line station. Later in life, Jack wrote a book for his grandchildren about his many exploits, adventures, and wild animal encounters during his time in Europe, Asia, and on the Alaskan DEW Line. In 1960, he joined IBM field engineering in Milwaukee, and after a whirlwind romance, he and Ann Badten, of Steven’s Point, eloped and were married in Las Vegas, NV on May 28, 1960. They were married for 56 years, and have four children and 11 grandchildren. During those years, his IBM career spanned five states, several executive positions including Branch Manager of Field Engineering in Tulsa, and culminating in a Regional General Manager position in Kansas City, Mo., before he retired in 1990. Jack devoted 28 years to Boy Scouts of America as Cub Master, Assistant Scoutmaster, and regional adult leader in Tulsa, OK and Overland Park, KS. BSA Indian Nations Council presented him with the prestigious BSA Silver Beaver Award in 1976. Pursuing another lifetime interest, Jack earned a Gemological Institute of America certificate for Diamonds & Diamond Grading in 1988. After moving to the Waupaca Chain O’Lakes in 1997, he spoke frequently to local high schools about his war experience, volunteered with the VFW, and consistently won his team golf division. He bowled on a couples’ league with Ann, avidly fished in Dake and Miner Lakes, and thoroughly enjoyed his Silver Sneakers exercise group. His Eggs Benedict, Königsberger Klopse, and Stollen are legendary to his children and grandchildren.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, William O. Bittman; his daughter, Carole A. Somers; and his granddaughter, Sabrina May Bittman. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 56 years, Ann L. Bittman of Waupaca; one brother, Jim (Kathy) Bittman of Sun City, FL; one son, Thomas (Lillian) Bittman of Sandy Hook, CT; two daughters, Sally Lynn (Neil) MacDonald of Sandy Hook, CT, and Katie (Barry) Holt of Advance, N.C.; 10 grandchildren, Samantha (Scott) Holcomb of Carbondale, IL; Laura Bittman of Los Angeles, CA; Ryan Somers of Topeka, KS; Danny Bittman of Waupaca, WI; Covey Hough of Advance, N.C.; Brianna MacDonald of Sandy Hook, CT; Jack Bittman of Sandy Hook, CT; Cameron MacDonald of Sandy Hook, CT; Courtney MacDonald of Sandy Hook, CT; and Nijmegen Hough of Advance, N.C.; and his first great-grandchild, Baby Holcomb, due in October. Jack also leaves behind a beloved, and large extended family.
A memorial service celebrating Jack’s life will be at 11 a.m., Friday, Aug. 5, at Maple Crest Funeral Home, N2620 Hwy. 22, Waupaca, WI. Friends and family are welcome to attend a gathering before the service at 10 a.m. at the funeral home.
The family would like to thank ThedaCare Regional Medical Center — Appleton for their professionalism, care, and profound kindness these past six months.