Laddie George Schmutzer of Columbus passed away at his home on Monday, January 11 with his wife by his side.
Laddie was the son of the late George and Ruth (Shanks) Schmutzer of Neva, Wisconsin. Laddie married his high school sweetheart, Susan Tatro, on January 4, 1964. They had just celebrated their 57th anniversary and had four children; Steve Schmutzer (Wendy Williams) of Green Bay; Carrie (Kenneth) Davin of Denver, NC; Jamie (Nick) Feira of Green Bay; and Melissa Schmutzer of Maryville, TN along with four grandchildren; Suzi Schmutzer, Ryan and Anne Davin and Mason Feira, whom he adored.
Laddie was an avid baseball player and fan. He played for many teams over the years including Star Neva whom he played for even after moving to Columbus. With kids in tow and the diaper pail in the trunk, Sue and Laddie traveled every weekend of their young married life so he could ‘play ball’. He also played for Dr. Bob Poser’s Columbus Blues State Line League and made many wonderful, life-long friendships while playing 17 years with The Desert Inn. Laddie absolutely loved sports. If the Brewers or the Packers were on, you knew exactly where he would be.
One of Laddie’s other favorite pastimes was feeding and quietly watching the birds. Elderly neighbors affectionately labeled him “The Bird Man”. Not a big communicator, his children referred to him often as “the walnut”, tough on the outside, but full of love and goodness inside. He had a huge heart and willingness to help others.
After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 22, Laddie was dealt many challenges which he always faced head on. Though not one for change, he forced himself to try new and different methods of care over the years. It was a blessing that as an avid reader, he was able to start reading again. He had just finished reading his sixth book since Christmas. Through all his health challenges, Laddie never once complained. After open heart surgery at the age of 74, one of his surgeons referred to him as ‘Superman’, amazed by his strength after having diabetes for over 50 years. A true testament to him and the devotion of his wife, Sue, his constant caregiver, nurse, cook and health advocate.
Laddie started his career as a lineman with C.A. Hooper in Madison, WI. He went on to work as a lineman and area supervisor with Columbia/Adams-Columbia Rural Electric for the next 42 years, never taking a sick day. His strong work ethic is something he proudly passed on to his children. He also passed on his love for woodworking and his handyman skills to his son and best fishing buddy, Steve.
Although Laddie grew up an only child, he had many brother and sisters-in-law, including Lucille and Richard Utnehmer of L’Anse, MI, Carole Tatro of Green Bay, James and Midge Tatro of Antigo, Bill and Diane Tatro of Stevens Point, Tony and Kathy Tillman of Three Lakes, and Mike and Pat Tatro of Wausau.
Laddie was preceded in death by his parents and an infant sister, mother and father- in-law, Viola and Joseph Tatro, sister-in-law, Mary Herbold, and brothers-in-law, James Herbold and Colonel Eugene Tatro.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Dr’s. Rolf and Sam Poser and the staff at the Poser Clinic and the Columbus Hospital, as well as good friends, John and Darlene Marks, for their care and support over the years.
A celebration of his life will take place at a later date when it is safe to gather.
In lieu of flowers, if desired memorials may be directed to the Columbus Fall River Food Pantry or to Prairie Ridge Health in Columbus.
Koepsell-Zeidler Funeral Home in Columbus is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at www.koepsellfh.com.