Paul Joseph Bitz
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Paul Joseph Bitz, of Evansville, Ind., passed away peacefully on Friday, February 21, 2014, at home. He was born in Evansville, Ind., on September 18, 1923 to the late Cornelius and Nellie (Shields) Bitz.
Paul was a graduate of Reitz Memorial High School and Evansville College/University of Evansville. During World War II he served in the 1877th Engineering Battalion in India. Shortly after his return to civilian life, he married Margaret Ernestine Mills (Tena), a union that created nine children.
He became active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, serving as Post 1114 Commander for five years, as 8th District Commander, and in several state positions with the organization. He received numerous honors from both the VFW and Disabled American Veterans of Indiana.
Paul also began pursuing his passion for public service. He was elected as Indiana State Senator in 1954 and re-elected in 1958. His legislative accomplishments included: property tax exemptions for seniors, the visually and hearing impaired; an employer requirement to grant military leave for reservists; and righting a legal wrong by finally giving people with epilepsy the right to marry.
Paul remained active in local and national politics following his State Senate terms. He was regional campaign manager for President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. He helped head up campaigns for local, state, and national candidates, including Senator Vance Hartke. He was a stalwart of the local Democrat Party, President of the Roberts Stadium board for six years, and head of Voter's Registration for eight years. He was a devoted member of St. Benedict's Cathedral.
Paul and wife Tena (deceased) were proud parents of nine children, Mike Bitz (deceased), Greg Bitz, Cindy Korff, Bonnie Reinhart, Karen Stewart, Kevin Bitz (deceased), Kim Patrick Bitz, Terence David Bitz, and Roger Bitz (deceased).
Paul was blessed with 16 grandchildren, Tammy, Tracy, Jennifer, Dale, Darcy, Dawn, Tim, Andrew, Kevin, Heather, Holly, Julie, Jocelyn, Matthew, Ryan, and Douglas; plus 18 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
A Memorial Mass for Paul will take place in the mausoleum chapel at St. Joseph Cemetery in Evansville on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 9 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to St. Benedict Cathedral or to VNA Hospice.
Condolences may be made online at www.browningfuneral.com.
Published in Courier Press on Feb. 27, 2014