Earl Klitzke

August 2, 2018

obit Klitzke photoDec. 26, 1937 – July 28, 2018

Earl J. Klitzke, age 80, formerly of Lake Benton, died peacefully on Satur­day, July 28 at the Min­nesota Veterans Home in Luverne. Visitation was Tuesday, July 31, 4-7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton. Funeral service will be Wednesday, Aug. 1, 10:30 a.m. at the church. Burial with mili­tary honors will follow at Diamond Lake Cemetery near Lake Benton. To view a video tribute or sign an online registry, please visit www.hartquistfuneral. com.
Earl Joseph Klitzke was born Dec. 26, 1937 to Earl and Delilah (Hanson) Klitzke in Pipestone. He was raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and began his early education there. When he was a freshman in high school he moved to Lake Benton and lived on a farm with his foster parents, Gunnar and Delo­res Johansen. Earl was ac­tive in athletics, especially basketball and football. He graduated in 1957 and went on to attend a year at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota while continuing to work on the farm. On April 11, 1959 Earl was united in marriage to Joan Marlene Wodtke at Peace Church in Elkton, South Dakota. The couple made their first home seven miles north of Lake Benton. Earl farmed until Feb. 17, 1961 when he joined the U.S. Air Force. Earl served as a me­chanic and was stationed at Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts until his honorable discharge on Oct. 16, 1964. Upon his return from the service, the family moved to a farm just north of Verdi. Earl resumed farming and con­tinued to do so until 1986, when he and Joan moved to Norwood, where he worked as a custodian for Norwood Young America School District. One year later Earl went to work for Petersen Gravel, driving truck while also helping a local farmer part-time. Earl then became employed by MN-DOT, where he worked until his retirement in 2008. He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in April 2010. In April 2014, Earl became a resident at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne, where on Saturday, July 28, he died peacefully at the age of 80 years, seven months and two days.
Earl was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton. He was also a member of the American Legion. Earl was a sports enthusiast and loved play­ing and following his fa­vorite teams, especially the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins and the University of Minnesota Gophers, and attending his grandchildren’s events. He played fast-pitch softball for many years and en­joyed camping out at the lake in the summer.
Earl will be lovingly re­membered by his wife of 59 years, Joan; two chil­dren, Rick (Anita) Klitzke of White, South Dakota, and Karla (Timothy) An­derson of Elkton, South Dakota; five grandchildren, Justin (Jamie) Klitzke, Miranda (Benjamin) Deutz, Amber (Paul) Langner, Taylor(Lindsey) Anderson, and Abigail Anderson; five great-grandchildren, Halle and Emilee Duetz, Blakely and Gracyn Langner and Coen Anderson; his foster mother, Delores Johansen of Lake Benton; a brother, Leroy Klitzke of Greyball, Wyoming; two sisters, Carol and Cindy; foster sis­ters Diane (Donald) Evers, Gunvar (Randy) Dombeck, Lori Johansen and foster brother James (Linda) Jo­hansen. He was preceded in death by his parents Earl Klitzke and Delilah Struck; two brothers, Rob­ert and Dennis Klitzke; step-mother Vella Klitzke; and his foster father, Gun­nar Johansen.