Laverne William Fritsch, 88, of rural Tecumseh died at his home on Wednesday, October 3, 2018. He was born on July 6, 1930 at rural Sterling and grew up on a farm south of Sterling. He attended Prospect District Five Country School until the 8th grade and graduated from Sterling High School in 1948. He enlisted with the United States Marines and served from 1951 until 1953. He did his basic training at Camp Pendleton in California and served on the island of Hawaii. Laverne was united in marriage to Shirley Mason on April 12, 1959 at the United Methodist Church in Tecumseh. To this union two children were born, Laurie and Ronald. Laverne was a life-long farmer and also raised cattle and hogs. He and Shirley made their home near Vesta raising their family. Laverne started his farming career with his father and continued to be a part of the farming operation with his son until his death. He was a good steward of the land and found great contentment and satisfaction in his work. He also enjoyed his visits with other area farmers at the local coffee shops. He served 19 years as a Veterans Service Officer for Johnson County and was an active member for the Avenue of Flags in Tecumseh. He was a former member of the South St. John Lutheran Church and now was a member of St. John Lutheran Church of Sterling. He served on both church councils, was secretary for the South St. John Cemetery Board and a member of the Sterling American Legion.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Shirley; children, Laurie Saathoff of Sterling and Ronald (Lisa) Fritsch of rural Tecumseh; five grandchildren, Julie Saathoff, Andrew (Kharisa) Saathoff, and Jacob (McKenzie) Saathoff all of Sterling, Michelle (Billy) Borrenpohl of Tecumseh, and Daniel Fritsch of rural Tecumseh; four great-grandchildren, Lucas, Braely, Brock and Maelynn Saathoff; one sister, Margrie Zuhlke of Sterling; one brother, Mervin (Marilyn) Fritsch of Buena Vista, CO; brother-in-law, Ivan (Myrna) Mason of Auburn; sister-in-law, ImaGene Mason of Tecumseh; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jacob and Louise Boslau Fritsch; son-in-law, Paul Saathoff; grandson, Lucas Saathoff; sister, Mabel Zink; brothers-in-law, Raymond Zink, James Zuhlke, Dale Mason, and Eugene (Ella Mae) Mason.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Saturday, October 6, 2018 at St. John Lutheran Church of Sterling with Pastor Dennis Reich officiating. Burial will be at the Vesta Cemetery of rural Vesta. Military rites will be conducted by the Sterling and Tecumseh American Legion. A memorial has been established to the family’s choice with Erma Hazen in charge. A family prayer service will be held at 10:15 A.M. at the church on Saturday. The body will lie in state at the Zink-Fox Funeral Home of Sterling from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Friday and at the church one hour preceding the service on Saturday. www.foxfuneralhome.net Zink-Fox Funeral Home of Sterling is in charge of the arrangements.