Wayne Arthur Gitch, 75
Wayne Arthur Gitch, 75, of Fredericksburg, Iowa went to be with his Lord, after a courageous struggle with cancer on Saturday, May 7 at his home. Just like he dealt with all experiences in life, Wayne managed his illness with strength and grace, and wanted to spend as much time with loved ones as possible.
Funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at United Methodist Church in Fredericksburg, IA with Rev. Roberta Robbins presiding. Interment will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery in Fredericksburg, IA. Celebration of life will follow his interment at the Fredericksburg Community Center.
Friends may greet the family from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in Fredericksburg. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service on Wednesday at the church. The family has requested to wear Hawkeye attire to honor Wayne.
Wayne was born on June 25, 1946, in New Hampton, Iowa to Arthur and Mabel Gitch. He was the youngest of the couple’s four children and was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Fredericksburg. Wayne grew up on a farm in Fredericksburg, where he began his education attending country school. His family briefly moved to Sumner before returning to Fredericksburg, and Wayne was a 1964 graduate of Fredericksburg High School.
Wayne developed a tremendous work ethic early in life. As a young boy, he helped his parents with chores on the farm, and in middle school, Wayne worked for farmers and managed his own milk route. He later worked at a gas station and a meat locker.
At the age of 19, Wayne began employment with John Deere in Waterloo, where he would work for 46 ½ years as an assembler of cabs and later a test-machine operator until his retirement in 2011. He took pride in being a Deere employee and would take any chance that came his way to work overtime. In 1965, Wayne joined UAW Local 838, and was a very proud member of the union.
Wayne always honored his work commitments, and one story from the mid-1960s shows just what kind of employee he was. In his early days at John Deere, he was laid off for a short time and took a job at Oliver Tractor in Charles City. Almost immediately, he was recalled to Deere, but he honored his commitment to Oliver and worked at both plants for two weeks so he could give Oliver proper notice.
At age 21, Wayne was briefly married to Janice Fenneman and they welcomed their first child, Kimberlee, before they later divorced.
He found his true love - his "Missy" if you will - one night when he and a buddy stopped up at Holly's Bar and Grill in Lawler for a steak. The owners' daughter, Mary Kathleen Hollis, was working for her parents that night, and Wayne and Mary struck up a conversation. A day later, on Feb. 3, 1974, they went on a date to Prairie du Chien, and their love for each other blossomed quickly as the two exchanged vows on Dec. 14, 1974, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua.
Their family grew to include four children - Mischa, Karolyn, Natasha and McClain - who had the best father, one who not only worked hard to provide for them but also taught them the important things in life. Wayne was devoted to his children. He was always calm, approachable, and offered the Gitch kids the best advice. He set a great example to them with his work ethic, but he also taught them to enjoy life and often flashed his great sense of humor with his children.
Wayne's No. 1 priority, however, was always his family. As they grew up, Wayne taught them how to drive, both automatics and stick shifts because he wanted them to be comfortable behind the wheel of any vehicle. When he went "asparagus hunting," he walked the ditches and his children drove the car alongside him, giving them the chance to learn how to travel gravel!
Wayne and Mary also owned and operated Holly’s Bar & Grill in Lawler for 10 years between 1982 and 1992. The couple did it all - cooking, tending bar, bussing tables, cleaning - at the establishment where they began their incredible love story.
Wayne appreciated spending time with family and friends and was always ready for a good card game. He loved Euchre, Texas Hold’em and Cribbage. He enjoyed gardening, canning and making jelly.
Wayne loved to fish and hunt, and he always had an eye for a classic car, never turning down a chance to go on a car cruise. You could always find Wayne cheering for the beloved Hawkeyes, Cubbies and Los Angeles Rams.
He was a longtime member of the United Methodist Church and the Fredericksburg Sportsman Club.
This remarkable man will be deeply missed by his family and friends but the memories he helped create and the advice he offered will last a lifetime.
Wayne is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Mary. Their four children: Mischa (Jon) Odell, of West Des Moines, Karolyn (Mick) Kane, of Fairbank and Kennedy and Adalynn; Natasha (Glenn) Smith of Nashville, TN and McClain (Kristen) Gitch of Madison, Wisconsin. Son-in-law, Daryl Hartson of Fredericksburg and granddaughter Morgan Price of Waterloo. Two Sisters; Mary Schroyer of West Union and Joan (Reid) Craft of Waterloo as well as nieces and nephews.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Betty Gitch; daughter, Kimberlee Hartson; brother-in-law, Richard Schroyer; parents-in-law, Keith and Charlotte Hollis; and Mary's aunt and uncle, Everett and Bernice Ambrose, who were so special to both Wayne and his wife.