Leonard James "Jim" Witte
1931 - 2021
Iles Funeral Homes - Brandt Woodward Chapel
312 Walnut Avenue
Woodward, IA 50276
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.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by the Des Moines Register from Apr. 3 to Apr. 4, 2021.
9:30a.m. - 10:30a.m.
St. Boniface Catholic Church
, Waukee, Iowa
Mass of Christian Burial
St. Boniface Catholic Church
, Waukee, Iowa
Funeral services provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes - Brandt Woodward Chapel
Sponsored by Iles Funeral Homes - Brandt Woodward Chapel.
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

6 Entries
Ted, Mark, Becky and Mel,
I just celebrated your Dad's Mass virtually with you. I have great memories of your Dad and his voice of wisdom and faith always came across with a balance of strength and gentleness. Please know that my prayers are with all of you and I will remember him at my Masses this weekend. God Bless, Joe Evanko
Joe Evanko
April 8, 2021
Sorry to read of Jim's death. I knew him through Ted and their annual Memorial Day visit to St. Mary's Cemetery in Dallas Center. He was a great man to be around, a good father, a faithful and devoted Catholic. St. Boniface will miss him. I will offer Mass for him and keep his family in my prayers. May he rest in peace. Fr. Al Sherbo
Fr. Albert G. Sherbo
April 7, 2021
I will always remember you as a friend who lifted my spirits each time we visited. Prayers to Catherine and all the Witte family.
Marilyn Lickteig
April 6, 2021
Jim blessed us with great stories and wonderful memories. Our condolences to the Witte clan. Dave and Chris Stittsworth and family
Christine Stittsworth
April 4, 2021
I will miss Uncle Jim and that last connection to the large Witte clan who were talented, active, and dedicated to making life better for so many people. HIs good humor and many stories of growing up during an era with many challenges will always be in my memory. Blessings to the Witte family! Rest in peace, Uncle Jim.
Mary Witte Arner
April 4, 2021
Thank you Jim for all the times you made me smile. May you Rest In Peace. My sympathies to Catherine and all the Witte’s.
April 3, 2021