MASON CITY Donald Don H. Alitz, 89, of Mason City, past away Wednesday (May 20, 2009) at the IOOF Home in Mason City. A Celebration of Life will be held for Don at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday (May 26, 2009) at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Ave. with Pastor Tom Healey officiating. Visitation will be an hour prior to service at the funeral home. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Plymouth, IA. Memorials may be directed to the Don H. Alitz memorial fund in care of the family.
Don was born in Mason City on August 20, 1919, IA, the son of Henry and Clara (Schroyer) Alitz. Dons school, Lime Creek #3, was walking distance from his home. Like many kids from that era, Don quit school to help on the family farm. He grew up alongside his siblings, Clifford, Bonnie, Rolland, Chuck, Raymond, and Harvey. He also had a brother, Kenneth, who died in infancy.
Along with friends and family members, Don was summoned by Uncle Sam to serve in World War II. On March 2, 1942, he was sworn into serve with the United States Army Air Corps. He left Mason City and headed for Missouri. After basic training he was sent over seas and was stationed in many locations including Africa, Italy, China, and India. In February of 1945, Don was aboard the ISS Randall heading back to the states. On August 5, 1945, he was honorably discharged and returned to the life he had known nearly three and a half years earlier.
Don operated one of the family farms from 1950 to 1970. He also worked as a tile layer for Alitz Excavating, a business owned by his brother, Clifford. He enjoyed his work because it gave him an opportunity to associate with many hard working people he had known while growing up in the area. During this time, Don lived with his brother, Harvey, and his family, before moving to his familys homestead and then later to a home in Kensett.
After retiring in 1982, Don began selling Mason Shoes to his neighbors and family members. This kept him busy and updated on the happenings in his community. Don was a collector of farm caps and rare was the day he was seen without one on his head. He was also known for his ability to grow an above average garden. Every year he would plant potatoes, tomatoes, and many things green. He was very generous with his harvest and would share them with family and friends.
Nearly every morning, Don would get up early and head for the convenience store in Manly for a Long John and a Diet Coke. The employees knew him by name and looked forward to his arrival. He enjoyed driving around inspecting the crops in the area and stopping to visit with family and friends. Everyone that knew Don knew that he was an early to bed, early to rise kind of guy. He was never late for an appointment; in fact he was always early. He was a man of few words so when he spoke, you listened. He had many comical phrases he would repeat and they would always put a smile on your face. Don had a shy, selfless, quiet soul but those close to him also admired his strong will.
One of the highlights of Dons later years was an 80th birthday party hosted for him by his brother, Raymond, and his family. All his relatives were there. Being around family gave him great pleasure. Don never married and lived alone for many years. In the spring of 1999, after having open heart surgery, it was determined that Don could no longer live alone so between 1999 and 2007, Don lived with several different nephews and their families and a niece and her family. He remained active by going to his great nephews sporting events, taking car rides around the farm area where he grew up, and attending the Salvation Army Adult Day Care five days a week. He enjoyed the activities there and the time he spent with friends and staff. He enjoyed it so much that he rarely missed a day.
In September of 2007, Don moved to the IOOF Home due to complications from Diabetes. He adjusted well to his new surroundings due to the excellent service and staff. He so looked forward to the nearly daily visits from his brother, Clifford, and sister-in-law, Arlene, and his brother, Harvey, and sister-in-law, Elaine in his last months. The first question he would ask was, Did you bring me a donut and a diet pop? It would be difficult to name everyone that came to visit Don over the years but please know that it meant the world to him.
Don was present for all the important events in our lives; confirmations, graduations, birthday parties, holidays, and the arrival of new members to our family. He lived a simple life without a lot of bells and whistles and the things he was most proud of could be found in the stories he would tell; his parents, his sister, brothers and their families, being a WWII veteran, his work his garden, and his friends. He will be remembered as a brother, an uncle, a listener, a friend, a donut eater, a car ride seeker, and dog lover, a game show watcher, a snuff connoisseur, and a heck of a nice guy. He is loved and will be dearly missed by those whose life he touched.
He is survived by his brothers, Clifford Alitz and wife Arlene of Mason City, Harvery Alitz and wife Elaine of Mason City; many nieces and nephews and their families.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Bonnie Edgar and husband Rohl; four brothers, Charlie Alitz, Rolland Alitz and wife Shirley, Raymond Alitz and wife Arlene, and infant brother Kenneth.