Lester John Holtschlag, 87, of the Illinois Veterans Home, died Sunday (June 16, 2013) in the home.
Lester was born Feb. 2, 1926, in Quincy, a son of Lawrence and Margaret Ann Karch Holtschlag.
Lester worked at Johns Hopkins University for 29 years, beginning as a researcher. Lester later established and served as editor of a journal on combustion at the university.
Lester was a graduate of Quincy High School, a 1948 graduate of Quincy College and attended the University of Illinois
studying for his master's degree before being drafted by the U.S. Army
He served for nine years, working in Intelligence in an extraordinary career that brought him face-to-face with Soviet military officers and spies during the Cold War. He was a skilled linguist, fluent in German, French and Russian. His ability with these languages allowed him to converse with Soviet and German counterparts in Europe, creating a rapport that enabled him to get information and gain insight into the government espionage networks of other cultures.
Following his third re-enlistment, in 1956, during the Hungarian Revolt, he ran a refugee camp for the State Department west of Nuremburg which housed more than 220,000 refugees that escaped after the revolt.
He traveled extensively, and took a year's sabbatical from Johns Hopkins to research the Holtschlag family. He authored a book on his family's genealogy, tracing their history as far back as the 16th century. Lester gave talks locally about genealogy, and he did extensive translating from German to English for the Great River Historical Society and the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County. He was also instrumental in translating an important book about Catholic history during Quincy's first 50 years.
Survivors include his brother, Donald E. Holtschlag of Quincy; nieces and nephews, including Donna Druffel and her husband, Michael, of Wells, Minn., Vicky Holtschlag of St. Louis, Danny Sippel, Sheila Wells, Barbara Moser and Weldon Sippel. Numerous great- and great-great-nieces and nephews also survive.
Lester was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Lawrence Holtschlag in infancy; and a sister, Lucille Sippel.
SERVICES: A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 1 p.m. Friday in Blessed Sacrament Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.
VISITATION: Noon to 1 p.m. Friday at Blessed Sacrament.
MEMORIALS: Quincy University Endowment Fund.
ARRANGEMENTS: Duker and Haugh Funeral Home.