Donald William Leitzke
Donald William Leitzke, 92, of Wausau passed away Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Care Center in Merrill.
Don was born June 2, 1923 in Wausau to the late William and Martha (Krueger) Leitzke. He attended Trinity Lutheran School and graduated from Wausau Senior High School in 1941. He entered the work force for a short time before serving in the United States Navy. During WWII, Don was a Yeoman at the naval base in New Orleans.
Following his discharge, he continued his education at George Williams College in Chicago where he received his degree in group work education and business. He later took graduate courses at Northwestern College in Evanston, IL.
Don began working as the Business Secretary for George Williams College before accepting a position as Secretary of the YMCA in Wausau. He was employed at the “Y” from 1952-1961. Don was the catalyst for the development of Camp Sturtevant, and served as its first Camp Director. He continued to develop additional programs for youth such as the Hi-Y Club, Father-Son Indian Guides, teen dances, family nights, and evening movies at area school playgrounds. Don oversaw the building project for the downtown Woodson YMCA.
In 1961 he began working as a state probation and parole agent in Rhinelander before transferring to Wausau, retiring in 1988. Although part of the Department of Corrections, Don considered himself first and foremost a social worker, and he enjoyed the opportunity to help people rebuild their lives.
An active community member, Don served on the Salvation Army Board for many years including the position of President. He was one of the founders of the Greater Wausau Area Christian Services, a proud member of the American Legion, past President of AARP and editor of its’ newsletter, and organizer of the Marathon County Chapter of the Wisconsin Valley Philatelic Society (Stamp Club). Along with his wife, Vera, Don spoke to area high schools about his childhood during the Depression Era. In 2011, Don felt privileged to participate in the Never Forgotten Honor Flight experience.
As a servant of the Lord, Don was a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where he served as an Elder, Sunday school teacher, and a Trinity School Board member. He also enjoyed participating in Trinity’s 55+ Club, bible studies, and assisting with worship in nursing home facilities.
Most of all, Don enjoyed being a husband, father, and grandpa. He enjoyed camping with his family, working in his yard, wood-working projects, pets, cooking and baking, and defeating his granddaughters in any board or card game!
Don is survived by his wife Vera, two daughters, Maxine (Jay) Tlusty and Dona Leitzke both of Merrill, three granddaughters, Melanie (Mark Lunda) Tlusty of St. Paul, MN, Amanda Leitzke and Michelle Tlusty both of Merrill, and his faithful dog, Charlie.
He was preceded in death by his son, Mark Leitzke, and his sister, Violet Wojan.
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 27, 2015 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 Stewart Ave with Rev. Zach Holdorf officiating. Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the church. Interment will follow at Restlawn Memorial Park. Memorials may be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church, the Salvation Army, the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, or the Lincoln County Humane Society.
You may sign our online guestbook at www.helke.com.