Fritz Emil Walter Koltz, of Forest Park, died on July 2, 2015. The son of Anna and Johannes Koltz, he was born on March 22, 1927 in Stettin, Germany and decided early in his education that farming was a career he would enjoy. He set his sights on a sisal plantation in German East Africa as his goal. Growing up in a seaport meant he was exposed to many different things from many parts of the world. He also found other pastimes he would continue into adulthood, those being nature study and wood carving.
After agricultural college, he worked on a farm for his apprenticeship and there he watched prisoners of war, where his knowledge of English was fortuitous. Shortly after graduation, the German army took him for the war effort. Several harrowing experiences, including a brush with death from pneumonia, shaped his character. After his capture by British forces he was impressed into the British Army as an interpreter.
With the African colonies seized after World War II, he turned his wanderlust to the U.S. He was sponsored by a distant cousin, Minnie Preibe. The voyage brought him eventually to Chicago where he was included in a Pomeranian community. He was introduced to his future bride, Dorothy Zuehlke and they had two children, William and Evelyn. He was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War, making him a veteran of two wars and branches of the military from three countries. During this tour of duty, he found himself in the Psychological Warfare unit due to his linguistic skills. The main vehicle in those days for delivering psychological messages to the enemy was radio and he got involved in several broadcast programs, adding more skills to an ever increasing resume. After discharge he was a script writer for the Germania Broadcast, one of the first German language broadcast stations in the U.S. after World War II.
The 1960s brought tragedy when Dorothy was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. She succumbed to pneumonia on March 15, 1964 and on July 18, 1964 he married his son’s godmother, Lillian Eilrich. He and Dorothy had spoken about her impending passing and encouraged him to marry again and Lillian was a suggestion.
He worked for over 30 years at a company called Standard Brands and became plant electrician. During this time he developed devices and processes for improved performance and for one of those he received a patent.
He published an article for a magazine featuring his home province of Pomerania and an article for Chip Chats, a master woodcarver’s magazine. Articles spotlighting Fritz’s carvings were published in Chip Chats magazine, as well as the Forest Park Review and Wednesday Journal newspapers.
Fritz and Lillian were married for 29 years. She died in 1994. Shortly thereafter he sold their house in Chicago and moved to North Carolina. After staying there for a few years he yearned to be close to family and moved back to the area. He found a place in Forest Park with old German background called the Altenheim. This was his home until he died.
Fritz Koltz was the husband of the late Dorothy (nee Zuehlke) and the late Lillian (nee Eilrich); the father of William “Bill” (Pat) Koltz and Evelyn (John) Swanson; the grandfather of Christine “Chrissy” and Catherine “Cathy” Koltz, Kimberly “Kimmy” (Steven) Spanhook and Monica (Jason Jaskulski) and John F. III “Johnny” Swanson; the brother of Hansi (Brigette) Koltz; and the uncle and friend of many.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, July 11 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Interment services will follow at Bethania Cemetery in Justice.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the National Wildlife Federation (nwf.org) are appreciated.