Luke G. Zitzler, 83, died after lunch on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at Elk Haven. He was a lifelong resident of Vine Road in St. Marys.
He was born July 12, 1930 in St. Marys, son of Joseph and Leona (Hallermeyer) Ziztler. He married Mary Grace Schlimm, who survives, on Aug. 21, 1954.
Luke was an accomplished machinist and welder. His early career began in the shop of Brownie Seel where he learned his trade after completing elementary school. He also worked at Keystone Carbon Company for a few years. For more than two decades he worked at W&H Machine Shop, which he managed until his retirement.
During the Korean War, he served stateside in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox. He was a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a member of the Crystal Fire Department and a life member of the St. Marys Sportsmen's Club, a reflection of his passion for the outdoors, especially deer hunting and trout fishing. His success in the local woods and streams as well as his talent for gardening kept the cupboards (which he built) and freezers stocked with venison, trout, green beans, tomatoes, blueberries and many other fruits and vegetables.
An expert craftsman, there were few things of wood or metal that he couldn't make or make better. He drafted his projects on the margins of the Daily Press and the envelopes of yesterday's mail. His creations and handiwork benefit many everyday, whether it's drawing inspiration from the stainless steel cross atop the Methodist Church in Benezette, enjoying a fun and safe summer day climbing the sturdy steps of the slide at the community pool, having the perfect corner cupboard or the custom tool that is just exactly the right gadget to make the job easier, the work of his hands will last for decades.
In addition to his wife, Luke is survived by six children, Paula Zitzler of Williamsburg, Steven (husband of Cindy) of St. Marys, Pam (Mrs. Michael Dippold) of Columbus, Ohio, Bridget (Mrs. Barry Rucki) of Benezette, Susan (Mrs. James Dippold) of Glen Hazel and Ann (long-time partner of Randy Hollabaugh) of Cyclone; a sister, Eileen (Mrs. John Quatroche) of Punxsutawney; and a brother, Ralph (husband of Sharron) of Lincoln, Calif. His greatest legacy is the nine grandchildren who also survive, Frank Rucki; Andrew, Megan and Michelle Dippold; Sarah, James and Elizabeth Dippold; and Joseph and Jenna Zitzler.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Martha (Mrs. Alex Hill), Marion (Mrs. Richard Nachtway); and three siblings who died in childhood, Joseph, Daniel and Emily.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial for Luke G. Zitzler on Wednesday, May 28 at 10 a.m. at Queen of the World Church with Rev. Richard Allen, pastor, officiating. Burial will follow at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery. Full military rites will be accorded by the St. Marys Servicemen's Burial Detail.
There will be no viewing or visitation.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Crystal Fire Department of St. Marys.
The Lynch-Radkowski Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.