Cover photo for John Kautzer's Obituary
John Kautzer Profile Photo
1959 John 2021

John Kautzer

May 8, 1959 — March 2, 2021

“Having dreams is what makes life tolerable.”

John Edward Kautzer, age 61, of Waupun, WI, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully at home on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

John was born on May 8, 1959, at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, WA. He was the son of Maryann and (the late) Jerry. He and his family moved to Wisconsin when his dad retired from the Air Force in 1968. John attended elementary through High School at Green Lake, and then graduated in 1977. He was an active student involved with music, sports and other extra-curricular groups. He was the jokester that had many friends and teammates giggling, most likely when they should not have been. Weekends with his brother and high school friends usually meant a ride or two in the AMC purple Hornet. After high school, John attended UWSP for a short time before deciding to join the Army. He was a Drill Sgt. in the US Army and as he mentored many teaching life lessons, John was still often referred to as “Sarge”. After his active-duty commitment, John continued his military career in the Army Reserves from 1978 – 2006. John loved the military and his country, and was so proud to serve as he followed in his father’s footsteps. He officially retired from his military career only one year ago. John was employed at ST Genetics in Fond du Lac since 2014. John often said work was never a job for him, especially with his work family or as he called them “the girls”. They were all so very dear to him.

When he wasn’t working, his love for sports brought him to coaching. He loved working with kids of all ages, encouraging them and inspiring them to be the best that they could be. If it wasn’t a football team, it was a fun local bowling team. To sum up John’s coaching method; “A great coach tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear”. And when he wasn’t coaching, he was umping baseball games; even though it was not umping for his favorite Yankees, it was still baseball. When he was off the field, it was not uncommon to see John in the stands cheering for his nieces and nephews through the years at soccer, football, volleyball and baseball events. And no doubt, sitting on the bleacher next to him was a cold diet dew and big bag of sunflower seeds as he cheered them on.

During the holidays, it was also John who would dress as Santa for not only his nieces and nephews, but other local families as well. And after his costume was hung up for the night till next year, it was John who would stay up all night assisting with assembly of Christmas toys for these nieces and nephews to wake up to on Christmas morning. John’s love for his family and friends was evident in his smile, his infectious laugh and his warming “bear hugs”. Even when they were sometimes unexpected, they were certainly always welcome. Without question, the bright shining star of his life was his sweet daughter, Desi. When he spoke of his “Little One”, his eyes lit up and he simply melted for in his mind, there was probably nothing she could do wrong. To say John was a proud “Daddi-o” is an understatement. Desi will miss his silly texts and hellos, which were often interrupted while he was focused on watching his nightly favorite MASH shows.

Survivors include his treasured “Daddy’s Little Girl”, DesiRaye (Scotty Johannes) Ehlert of Wautoma, WI and also John’s beloved and caring mother, Maryann Kautzer of Oshkosh, WI. John’s siblings include: Mary (Ruth Peake) Kautzer of Portland, OR; Maureen (Rick) Nelson of Evansville, WI; Dianne (Dan) Basler of Kaukauna, WI; Frank (Margaret) Kautzer of Neenah, WI and Leah (Joe) Ackley of Combined Locks, WI. Nieces and nephews who adored their Uncle John are: Luke and Meaghan, Desiree and Jeremy, Amanda and Ryan, Kyle and Cheyenne, Ashlie and Eric, Tiffanie and Eric, Godson Lance and Kathyrn, Jenna, Eva, Ella, Goddaughter Emma, and Liam. Surviving great nieces and nephews who were so dear to “Uncle John-John’s” heart include: Emmett, Rory, Cora, Weslee, Elliott, Dax, Nicholas, Beau, and Reese. John is further survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends, including special family members, Brandon Runkel of MS and Joe Binder of Oshkosh, WI. John was preceded in death by his father, Gerald “Jerry” Kautzer in 2000, and maternal grandparents, John and Leona Opelka and paternal grandparents, Edward and Althea Kautzer.

John’s family wishes to thank their many friends, co-workers and extended family for their love, kind words of sympathy and for all of the wonderful stories about John. The power of love is felt and is much appreciated. They would also like to extend a big thank you to the team at the Fond du Lac Dialysis Center, Dr. Diaz, Dr. Weber and the many nurses who started as John’s nurses, but had become family over the years. And finally, a very special thank you to the Waupun police and emergency squads for your compassion and empathy during this difficult time.

Public visitation for John will be held on Monday, March 8, 2021, from 3 – 5:00 pm at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church, 830 S. Westhaven Dr., Oshkosh, WI 54904. Please follow mask and social distance mandate to protect the family and church at this time.

A private family Mass of Christian Burial for John will be held on Monday, March 8, 2021, following visitation with Father Kevin Ripley officiating. Public inurnment for John will be held Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at 11:00 am at Princeton City Cemetery in Princeton, WI with a Final Salute with Military Funeral Honors. Memorials may be directed to American Heart Association, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674.

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