Monday, October 15, 2012

Walter Gene Witsman - Olive Branch

Walter Gene Witsman of Danville died Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, at Carle Foundation Hospital.

A visitation will be 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Pape Funeral Home, 10 E. Williams St., Danville. Service will follow immediately afterward and begin with Masonic Rites by Olive Branch #38 and a short memorial service by Don Porter. Cremation will follow and later burial in Thomas Cemetery outside Newport, Indiana at 10 am, Friday October 19.

Gene Witsman was born in Cayuga, Indiana on July 02, 1929.

He was preceded in death by his father, Frederick K. Witsman and his mother, Lucille (Van Sant) Witsman as well as brothers William “Bill” and Robert and sisters Jacqueline, Freda, and Thelma. Melvyn Karl “Pete” Witsman, a brother, survives.

He married Florence Louise Petty on August 18, 1957. She survives.

He is also survived by his loving children, Karl Witsman, Dennis Witsman, and Peggy Norman as well as his son-in-law Gary Norman and daughter-in-law Donna Carlene.

He had four grandchildren, Laura (Karl), Mariah, Mason, and Andrew (Dennis), as well as many nieces and nephews.

After graduating from Cayuga High School, Gene served in the Army during the tense period of the Cold War and the Korean War era. He was a sergeant in the Military Police in Germany.

They lived in Cayuga where he and Florence built their own home. Then they lived in Georgetown, Illinois before moving to Oakwood and later to Danville.

Gene’s hobbies included walking trails, enjoying nature, carpentry, music, and photography. He served as a 32nd degree Mason, 50 year member of Olive Branch Masonic Lodge #38 and the Danville Scottish Rites Bodies. He was a Past Master of Cayuga Lodge.

Professionally, Gene retired from being an industrial engineer with an emphasis on safety and efficiency. He was very outspoken about equality and fairness in the workplace. He valued punctuality and civility. A strong advocate for education, he attend DACC and Parkland College, as well as encouraging his children to higher education.

Gifts in lieu of flowers are requested to be sent to the VA Hospital, Danville, Carle Clinic Foundation, Urbana, or the Joshua Witsman Scholarship. The scholarship is held at Western Indiana Community Foundation, P.O. Box 175, 135 South Stringtown Road, Covington, Indiana 47932.

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