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Published: 2/10/2004

Co-owner of feed mill was gunner on B-17s

HICKSVILLE - Harold R. Wittig, who with a business partner owned and operated a local feed mill for 41 years, died Sunday in Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne, Ind. He was 81.

Mr. Wittig died of congestive heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis. He was ill for about a year before his death, said his wife, Kathryn, with whom he would have celebrated his 50th anniversary on April 15.

A 1941 graduate of Hicksville High School, Mr. Wittig attended the United Aircraft School in Wichita, Kan., and worked in aircraft assembly for Curtiss-Wright of Columbus and Casad Ordnance before entering the Army in 1944. He became an armorer-gunner on B-17 bombers and was sent to England shortly before World War II s end. He was discharged as a sergeant.

In 1947, a high school friend, Robert Tuttle, was offered the chance to buy a local feed mill and invited Mr. Wittig to go into the business with him. Thus began a partnership that continued until 1988, when the two men retired and sold the mill, where they had mixed and sold feed for livestock farmers throughout the region.

“They knew just about everybody in town and out in the country too,” said Mrs. Wittig, whom Mr. Wittig met on a blind date and who later worked part-time as the mill s bookkeeper.

He was active in Trinity United Methodist Church, where he taught Sunday school, served on the pastor-parish committee, and was an usher, trustee, and administration board member. He was a member of several local veterans clubs and of the Hicksville Masonic Lodge.

He enjoyed fishing local lakes, and cleaned and filleted his catches, Mrs. Wittig said. He also was a dedicated baseball fan who followed the Cleveland Indians, the Detroit Tigers, and the New York Yankees. He and his wife traveled extensively throughout the United States, visiting every state but Alaska.

Surviving is his wife, Kathryn; daughters, Laren Carkin, Lynette Roan, and Janis Eckert; brother, Kenneth, and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today and after 10 a.m. tomorrow at Brown Funeral Home, Hicksville, where a Masonic service will begin at 7 tonight. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the mortuary.

The family suggests tributes to Trinity United Methodist Church.



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