Milton Adam “Fritz” Lautenschlager, of Fond du Lac, died September 11, 2012, after long battles with heart disease and dementia. Lautenschlager was born March 7, 1926, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He was the twelfth, and youngest, child of Adam and Elizabeth Lautenschlager. On April 5, 1947, he married his high school sweetheart Patsy Ruth Oleson.
After graduation from Oshkosh High School, Lautenschlager served in the United States Navy. He served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters from 1944 to 1946.
Funded by the GI Bill, Lautenschlager received a Bachelor of Education degree and certification in elementary and secondary teaching from Oshkosh State Teachers College. While in college, he participated in football and basketball. He was later inducted into the UW-O Athletic Hall of Fame, served as board member and president of the “National O Club,” and was a member of the UW-O Alumni Association. He received the Titan Award for fifty years of service to UW-O sports. Lautenschlager also played in the Rock River Baseball League, once pitching an exhibition game against Baseball Hall-of-Famer “Dizzy” Dean, and was elected to the Rock River Baseball Hall of Fame.
Both Lautenschlager and his wife Pat spent their professional careers as teachers in the Fond du Lac School District. He taught at Bragg Elementary School and Goodrich High School and was a member of the Wisconsin Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. He coached basketball, baseball, and football in the district, and served as assistant athletic director.
When first coming to Fond du Lac, Lautenschlager spent his summers managing the Taylor Park Pool, running the Easter Seal Society summer camp program, and taking graduate courses at UW-O. He was a member of the Fond du Lac Golden Gloves Boxing Club. He golfed frequently at South Hills Country Club and was a member of the Fond du Lac Elks Club, participating in its 3-Man Bowling League.
The son of Russian-German immigrants who fled the tyranny of the czars, Lautenschlager had great respect for the American system of government and democracy. He was a life-long Democrat and a regular voter.
Fritz and Pat traveled throughout the United States and the world. His keen interests in history and politics gave him a true appreciation of their destinations.
Lautenschlager was integrally involved in the lives of his daughter and grandchildren. He especially enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and concerts, and he and Pat frequently included them in their travels. He delighted in their accomplishments.
Lautenschlager is survived by his spouse Pat Oleson Lautenschlager; daughter Peg Lautenschlager and son-in-law Bill Rippl of Fond du Lac; grandchildren Josh Kaul and spouse Lindsey Powell of Washington, D.C., Ryan Kaul of Los Angeles, CA, and Rebecca Rippl and significant other Brandon Johnson and his son Elias of Fond du Lac; and step-grandchildren Jason Rippl of Neenah, and Justin Rippl and spouse Jessica Rippl of Fond du Lac.
The family extends special thanks to the members of the staff of Harbor Haven Nursing Home for the care, love, and kindness they gave Fritz during the last months of his life.
Visitation will be held at the Mach Funeral Chapel on Sunday, September 23, from noon until 3:00 p.m., followed by a short memorial service. A reception at the Fond du Lac Elks Club will be held from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Friends of Taylor Park & Pool, Inc., the Fond du Lac Elks Club Lodge #57 Scholarship Fund, Easter Seals Wisconsin, or the ARC of Fond du Lac, Inc.
Mach Funeral Chapel & Crematory is serving the family. A guest register can be found at www.machfuneralchapel.com.