John (Jack) Arthur Litzenberg
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GRAND BLANC, MI: John (Jack) Arthur Litzenberg passed away May 6, 2014 in Grand Blanc, Michigan. He leaves a legacy of friendship, courage and inspiration to all who knew him.
Born in Butler County, Pennsylvania on October 29, 1946, he was the son of the late Arthur and Katherine Litzenberg, who moved to a farm outside Marion, Ohio to raise Jack and his eight sisters and brothers.
Jack was a 1966 graduate of Marion Catholic High School and served as class president, then attended Ohio's Bowling Green University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in social studies. He earned a master's degree in urban studies from the University of Akron (Ohio) and a second master's in urban planning from The Ohio State University in Columbus. An ardent sports lover and fan of the Cleveland Indians, he remained a lifelong fan of the Ohio State football team, rarely missing the annual football rivalry between the university and its archrival, the University of Michigan.
Jack worked as an administrator for the city of Savannah, Georgia before moving to Flint, Michigan in the early 1970s to work as a planner in the city's Community Development Department. In 1984, he joined the staff of the Flint-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation as a program officer, serving in various capacities within the Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty programs, ultimately becoming program director for the poverty work. In recognition of his many contributions to the Foundation, Jack was named Senior Program Officer in 1998, the only person to ever hold that title.
For nearly three decades, Jack was a leading force in the Foundation's efforts to address poverty and help low-income people discover their skills and capabilities and make their own unique contributions to society. In 1994, the Council on Foundations honored Jack for his work with its Robert W. Scrivner Award for innovation and creativity in grantmaking, the highest award made by the council to a grantmaker. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Enterprise Opportunity in 2012, the same year he retired from the Foundation.
Generous of heart, Jack volunteered many hours as a "big brother" and mentor for young people in his home community. A highly respected grantmaker, he was counsel to many nonprofit organizations working in the areas of microenterprise, entrepreneurship and employment. An avid golfer until mid-life, Jack also was a founding member of the Flint Rotisserie (fantasy baseball) League. He was an owner for 29 seasons, through 2013, and won the league championship in 1991.
Jack is survived by sisters, Harriet Wasserbeck (Harold), Charlotte Obenour (Richard), Lorraine (Lori) Litzenberg and fiancee, Bill Gedye; brothers, Robert Litzenberg (Carolyn), and David Litzenberg (Elizabeth); and a host of nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his sisters, Shirley Ann Litzenberg and Mary Kay Emery and brother, Bruce Litzenberg.
Jack also leaves a legion of friends, godsons and goddaughters, and coworkers who will miss his optimism, his humor and his compassion for the oppressed and under-served.
Visitation will be held Thursday, June 5, 2014 from 5 PM to 8 PM at Gunder/Hall & Folk Funeral Directors, 347 West Center Street, Marion, Ohio. A funeral mass will be held Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10 AM at St. Mary Church, 251 North Main Street, Marion, Ohio with Father Thomas Buffer presiding. Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the donor's choice.
Published in the Marion Star from June 1 to June 5, 2014
Gunder/Hall & Folk Funeral Home
347 West Center Street Marion, OH 43302