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Subject: Robert Witzig, Survivor of U.S.S. Indianapolis Sinking, Dies at 96

Only 7/316 Survivors Remain
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Date Posted: Friday, October 02, 10:29:39am

Robert M. “Bob” Witzig, age 96, of Fennimore passed away on Tuesday evening September 29, 2020 at the Lancaster Health Services in Lancaster. He was born on August 24, 1924 on the family farm in Annaton the son of Charles William“Will” and Winifred (Millard) Witzig. Bob was united in marriage to Helen Bock. Together they had two children Betty Lou and Tyrone. He later married Marcia Smith and became the proud father of their daughter Gina.

Bob graduated from the Livingston High School in 1942. In 1943, he enlisted in the United States Navy serving aboard the U.S.S. Indianapolis serving in the south Pacific. He was apart of eight battles and survived the infamous torpedo attack from the Japanese in WWII that caused the sinking of the ship in shark-infested waters. Bob was the last surviving Wisconsin sailor aboard that ship. After returning home, he worked for Joe Pelican in his blacksmith shop until becoming self-employed and starting Witzig Steelwork in 1951 and in 1980, he built his new shop along highway 61. Bob also farmed for many years with the Henkel brothers, Wilson and Henry. Bob liked to go for coffee daily at the Vale Inn in Boscobel and later Timothy’s in Fennimore and also liked taking trips to the casino. In his younger years, he enjoyed hunting, dancing, snowmobiling, watching Wheel of Fortune and football. He was a member of the Fennimore American Legion. Throughout Bob’s life, he experienced much, but was always a humble man even when receiving his purple hearts and his Congressional Gold Medal this past July.

Bob is survived by his two children Tyrone (Karla) Witzig of Fennimore, and Gina (Mike) Campbell of Spring Green, five grandchildren; Todd (Caroline) Cauffman, Tara Grob, Ned (Danielle) Witzig, Tish (Korey) Burmeister, and Nick (Jackie) Witzig, 10 great grandchildren; Quentin and Lillie Cauffman, Bianca and Daniel Witzig, Brady and Lindsay Burmeister, Talyn and Hayvn Witzig, Vaughn and Alyssa Grob, and step great grandson Layne Henderix. Bob is also survived by his longtime companion and fiancé Janet Gieseman and her children Daniel (Oksana) Gieseman of Ames, IA, Jody (Sean) Williams of Cedar Falls, IA, and Lisa (Wayne) Bergfeld of Bernard, IA and Janet’s daughter-in-law Julie Gieseman of Clive, IA.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Betty Lou Cauffman, son-in-law George Cauffman, his siblings and their spouses; Zoe (John) Novak, Olga “Henrietta” (Dallas) Smith, Joseph (Virginia) Witzig, Winifred “Janice” (Orville) Austin, Charles “Babe” (Betty) Witzig, Ned Everett Witzig, Paul (Ruth) Witzig, and Marion (Carroll) Fehrman and Janet’s son Dean Gieseman.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday afternoon Oct. 3, 2020 at the Larson Family Funeral Home in Fennimore. Burial will follow in the Ebenezer Cemetery in Wingville Township Grant County, WI with Military Honors. Visitation will be held from 11:00 A.M. unit the time of service at the funeral home on Saturday. If you are planning on attending, masks and social distancing will be encouraged.


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