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Donald J. Opitz, Feb 12, 1924-March 3, 2020

Apr. 10, 2020
Category: Obituary

Donald Opitz, 96, passed away in his sleep, March 3, 2020.
He was born February 12, 1924 to Charles and Catherine Opitz in La Crosse Wisconsin. He is survived by his sister Beatrice Renner (103), son Paul Opitz, son Mark Opitz, his wife Lauren, grandsons Dylan and Ryan, granddaughter Jennifer Bignell, her husband Dane, grandson Allen Jewell, former wife Priscilla Quist and longtime partner Barbara Miller. He was proceeded in death by his daughter Kathy Jewell and brothers Ken and Greg Opitz.
Donald grew up in the years of the depression in La Crosse and attended St. Aquinas Catholic School where he played basketball and baseball. Upon his eighteenth birthday he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and fought in WWII. He was wounded twice on the Island of Iwo Jima and received a Purple Heart. He then completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin. When the Korean War broke out, he took an Officer commission in the US Army and was deployed to the combat zone for over a year. During this time, he was awarded the Bronze Medal for Valor in Combat. He continued his career in the Army and saw combat once again in the Laos conflict and the Vietnam War. He completed his 25 year Army career while being stationed at the Pentagon, earning the rank of Colonel and receiving the Legion of Merit commendation.
Upon retiring he moved to Sarasota and became a successful realtor/broker for over 40 years. He was an avid Green Bay Packer fan and stayed active playing competitive tennis and raising his family. He lived a long and fulfilling life.

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Jeffrey Vande Leest ’75 retired June 30, 2021.

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