Cover photo for Gregory  Opitz's Obituary
Gregory  Opitz Profile Photo

Gregory Opitz

d. September 21, 2012


OPITZ, Gregory


LA CROSSE – Gregory Opitz, 92, longtime resident of La Crosse died on September 21, 2011, at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital , surrounded by members of his loving family.


Gregory was born on May 11, 1920 in La Crosse, the son of Charles Opitz and Catherine (LaHure) Opitz. 


Greg was a gifted woodworker and carpenter as a young man, creating beautiful pieces of furniture, and even a large sailboat that provided him and his brother a lot of fun and adventure on the Mississippi, near La Crosse.  As a youth, he enjoyed nothing more than swimming and engaging in horseplay with his friends on the sloughs and backwaters of the Mississippi.  Greg also loved sports as a young man and was an excellent amateur boxer.  He served in the Army Air Corp in World War II. 


Greg married Alice Cisewski of Winona in 1943, while he was serving in the military.  Together they resided in La Crosse until Alice’s death in 2011, after 68 years of marriage. Greg attended Mass every Sunday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and was a reliable member of the Holy Trinity Men’s Club for many years.  He worked at Trane Company for twenty eight years, retiring in 1983.  All his life, Greg loved working with his hands, building and improving his home and property.  He completely renovated his home and constructed, virtually alone, a large garage, a testament to his skills. His greatest passion in life was working in his garden, which, at its zenith, encompassed almost his entire back yard. He was famous throughout the neighborhood for the beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables that he shared with his friends and neighbors.  He even supplied small grocery stores in the neighborhood with bushel baskets full of the rich bounty from his garden. His greatest loves, however, other than his beloved Alice, were his grandchildren.  He loved to be with them, to laugh with them, and to hear about their activities.  Even after he was severely hobbled by arthritis, he made every attempt to attend his nearest grandson’s athletic events….and even practices.  Greg, more than anything else, was a thoroughly loyal and dutiful human being.  He cared for his aged parents with great affection, rebuilding the first floor of their house because they had difficulty walking upstairs.  After Alice was confined to a nursing home, he visited her every day, twice a day, for years, even on the coldest and stormiest Wisconsin winter nights, sitting for hours on a straight backed chair, tending to her every need.   His surviving family will miss his strength of character, his inherent goodness, his daily presence in their lives. He is with his beloved Alice now. 


Greg  is survived by his beloved daughter and caregiver, Patricia (Thomas) Shankey of La Crosse; his two sons, Daniel (Isabel) of Burke VA And Steven (Shirley) of Nashville TN; his sister Beatrice Renner of La Crescent, MN, and his brothers Kenneth Opitz of Madison and Donald Opitz, Sarasota, FL; his grandchildren Derek Opitz of Seattle WA, Ingrid Opitz of Brooklyn NY, Ashley (Jasinski)Opitz of West Allis WI, Andrew Opitz of Burke VA, and Nicholas Shankey of La Crosse; and many nieces and nephews.  Greg was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Alice on May 22, 2011.




A visitation will be held on Monday Sept. 24th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM with a prayer service at 6:30 PM at the Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Avenue So., La Crosse and also at church on Tuesday from 9:30 AM until the time of Mass.  A Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday Sept. 25th at 10:30 AM at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 1333 So. 13th Street, Rev. Rick Roberts will officiate. Entombment with military rites will follow at the Woodlawn Cemetery Mausoleum.


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