Born: July 26, 1919
Death: May 6, 2012
July 26, 1919 - May 6, 2012
MICHAEL G. FRITZ
Michael George Fritz passed away peacefully on May 6, 2012, at St. Anthony’s Nursing Home in Carroll, Iowa at the age of 92. His wife, Irene, preceded him in death, as well as his parents, George and Mary Ellen (nee Kearns) Fritz and his sisters, Cecilia, Veronica, Bernardine, and Henrietta. He is survived by his niece, Mary Ellen Volkmer (Sister Miriam Angela, CSC) of South Bend, Indiana, and nephews, Bernard Volkmer, of Olympia, Washington, and Richard Volkmer, of Warrenville, Illinois.
Mike was born and raised in Spalding, Nebraska, and named after his maternal grandfather, Michael Kearns, who homesteaded aside the Niobrara River near Rushville, Nebraska in the 1870’s. His father was the town blacksmith in Spalding and his mother ran a small hotel and bakery. The family belonged to St. Michael’s parish and Mike graduated from Spalding Academy in 1937. As a young man, he enjoyed fishing, playing golf and basketball, and working at Fox’s Drugstore and Carlin’s Theater in Spalding. He was a devoutly religious Catholic his entire life.
With the onset of World War II, Mike enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. In the service, he trained at Biloxi, Mississippi, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Ponce de Leone, Puerto Rico. Shipped overseas, he served as a Photographic Technician with the 9th Photo Group on Guam and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. His greatest personal achievement was developing the film taken by the “Enola Gay” and “Bock’s Car” from their B-29 missions that delivered atomic bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then making the first enlarged pictures of those horrific events ever seen by human eyes.
Mustering out of the Army Air Corps in 1945, he returned to small town life in Spalding and working at Fox’s Drug Store until 1952, then moved to Omaha to work for the Carl S. Baum drugstores downtown and at The Center, an early vertical mall. Later, he worked at Kubat’s drugstore and Cliff’s Pipe Shop until retirement age. Naturally talented as a salesman, due to his friendly and outgoing nature, Mike was a valued employee wherever he worked during his entire life. During those years, his favorite recreation was attending the horse races at Aksarben, Columbus, and other tracks, where he became adept at interpreting the Racing Form for making “investments.”
Mike and Irene were married in 1972 and remained in Omaha until moving to Irene’s hometown, Carroll, for retirement. The couple shared a mutual interest in oil painting, as both were gifted artistically. Mike continued that hobby after Irene passed away in 2003, for he loved painting American Indians until the last moments of his life. Chief Joseph was his masterpiece.
A cheerful and uncomplaining soul with a zest for life, Mike will be sorely missed by his family, by his many friends in Spalding, Omaha, and Carroll, and by his caregivers at St. Anthony’s Nursing Home. Funeral services have been planned for 10:00 AM on Saturday morning, May 13, 2012, in the Chapel at St. Anthony’s (folks are asked to park in the south lot and enter through the southeast door). Reverend Timothy Johnson, Holy Spirit, will celebrate the mass. Friends may call after 9:00 AM at the chapel. A private burial will take place thereafter in Carroll.
Staff Sergeant Michael G. Fritz, 9th Photo Squadron, U. S. Army Air Corps.
Saturday May 12, 2012, 10:00 a.m.
St. Anthony Hospital Chapel
Rev. Timothy Johnson, Celebrant. Interment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Mike died Sunday afternoon at St Anthony Nursing Home in Carroll.