Leonard James "Jim" Witte
Waukee - Leonard James "Jim" Witte entered into eternal rest on March 31, 2021 at age 89. Jim's life journey took him from his birth in Des Lacs, North Dakota, on June 18, 1931, to farming with his family in Hebron, ND, to service in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. While stationed in Washington, D.C., Jim met and married Cecelia Thoma Witte. They moved to Iowa in 1953 to begin their 47-year marriage and to raise their family. In Iowa, Jim completed two degrees in education at Drake University, a stint as a public school teacher in Audubon, and ultimately a career in teaching and management at the Orientation Center, operated by the Iowa Department for the Blind. There Jim redirected the lives of 750 or more blind Iowans and others encouraging them to adopt a positive attitude about blindness, to believe that, "It is okay to be blind." Transformed by this attitude blind Iowans went on to successfully pursue their dreams and, through their achievements, work to convince a sighted world of that same belief.
Jim interrupted his teaching career from 1968 to 1976 at the invitation of his brother, John, joining him to operate a local bank in Poplar, Montana.
Throughout his careers, Jim served on multiple boards ranging from a local school board to parish councils, to diocesan committees and consumer or service councils affiliated with organizations of the blind.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Theodore and Clementine; his ten older siblings, Victor, Myrl (Sister Clementine), Mark, Kenny, Inez, Cora (Sister Muriel), Cyril, John, Marian, and Eunice (Sister Monica), son-in-law (Randy Criswell), and his wife Cecelia. Jim's immediate family who will long cherish his memory, include his wife Catherine, daughter Becky Criswell (Mike Olsen), son Mark (Cathy), daughter Melanie (Maggie Dugan), son Ted, and grandchildren Travis Witte (Kailyn), Grant Witte (Annie), Rachel Nash (Kevin), Andy Schutz (Teresa), Katie Hill (Brian), Joey Schutz (Chanda), Kevin Schutz, Sean Witte and Grace Witte together with great-grandchildren Sula Witte, Lauren and Elizabeth Schutz, Kaylee Kovacovich and Cecelia Miller-Schutz, and baby Nash who will arrive this summer, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their families.
Viewing will be open to the public at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday April 8, 2021 at St. Boniface Catholic Church, Waukee, Iowa followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery, Dallas Center, Iowa.
The service will be live streamed for those unable to attend. A link will appear around 10:15 a.m., (just prior to the service) on Jim's obituary page at www.Ilescares.com
, where you may also leave online condolences.
Memorial contributions may be designated to St. Boniface Church, Sudan Relief Fund or Iowans for Life.