A hard working, adventurous, and vibrant man, Albert Luetzow lived a rich and rewarding life filled with precious moments shared with the ones he loved. He was a devoted husband and father to be sure, but he was so deeply blessed to witness his family tree blossom to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren alongside the love of his life. Albert had an adventurous spirit and experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer, yet what made these things so extraordinary was sharing them with the ones he loved. He will be forever missed, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that will be forever cherished by all who were blessed to know and love him.
With the end of WWI in 1918, America was recognized as a world leader for the first time and poised for greatness. The followed decade has become known as the Roaring Twenties when innovation gave way to technology, which then ushered in prosperity. With more affordable cars, roads were being constructed as quickly as possible, and with the adventurous spirits of Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh, the world of flight soared to new heights. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1922 when Ebner and Rose (Buege) Luetzow were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as summer held the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, firmly in its grip. The big day finally arrived on July 12th when the baby boy they named Albert Ebner drew his first breath. He was the second of four sons in his family that included his older brother, William, and his younger brothers, Kenneth and Ebner, or “Gus.”
In many ways Albert experienced an upbringing that was typical for the youth of his generation. To support their family his parents operated a laundry business. Albert attended local schools including Bay View during his elementary years. He also had a paper route to help earn some extra money. Albert’s high school years found him at Bay View High School where he was in the band. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, he also became a drum major. In fact, all four of the Luetzow boys were drum majors. Albert’s passion for flying began at the a age of 16 when he and his brother William took flying lessons together. Sadly, William died in a plane crash in 1941.
After graduating from high school in 1940, Albert entered the military and was in the 15th Air Force, 82nd fighter group, serving in the Army Air Corps. He flew B-24 bombers and P-38 fighters in North Africa and Italy. Albert was engaged in heavy bomber escort, dive bombing, strafing, air rescue and transport escort. In all he flew a total of 45 missions over enemy territory. Albert was awarded the Purple Heart after his plane was sabotaged and crashed on January 21, 1945. He suffered burns to his legs and arms as well as a head wound. Albert attained the rank of First Lieutenant, and even outside of active duty he remained involved in the military by serving in the Air National Guard and Civil Air Patrol.
With his military duties fulfilled, Albert returned home to Bay View and worked in the family business, The South Side Laundry & Dry Cleaners, later named Luetzow Laundry and Dry Cleaners. It was also during this time that Albert met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Barbara Jean Papke, and they met in July of 1950 after she and her family were invited by Albert’s parents to spend a day on Albert’s 28 ft Chris Craft cabin cruiser. Albert was flying home from Air National Guard training and was going to do a fly over and tip his wings. He later joined the fun on the boat, which is where the love story that would span nearly 65 years was born. The sweethearts met in July of 1950, and were married on January 21,1951.
The newlyweds began their life together in, Town of Lake for 15 years before moving to Hales Corners where they remained for 45 years. Together they welcomed three sons including Bruce, Brent, and Brian into their hearts and home. There were frequent family vacations including ski trips, cruises, and Disney with his grandchildren later in life. There was also the time they went rafting down the Colorado River. Albert’s devotion to his family was unmatched, and he was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandfather to eleven and great-grandfather to six.
Although being with his family was his primary focus, Albert also kept busy in other ways. In 1958 Albert built his factory in South Milwaukee, Luetzow Industries, where he manufactured plastic bags for dry cleaners and dentists among others. The business such an important part of his life, and he was so proud that the business is operated by his three sons and two grandsons to this day. With a lifelong love for flying, Albert did purchase his own plane. He also shared that love with his sons. A longtime part of his community, Albert was a member of several groups and organizations including South Shore Yacht Club, Bay View Kiwanis Club, President of Bay View Business Men’s Association, Tuckaway Country Club, University Club, Dairymen’s Club, and Air Force Reserves.
As they grew older and needed more assistance, Albert and Barbara moved to St. John’s on The Lake in 2011. This was the place Albert called home for the rest of his life.
All who knew Albert Luetzow would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was generous and selfless, loyal and devoted to the people and things he treasured. Albert was genuine and approachable, which drew others near with ease. He will never be forgotten.
Albert E. Luetzow died on Saturday, January 24, 2015. Albert’s family includes his wife, Barbara J. Luetzow (nee Papke); children, Bruce (Betsy) Luetzow, Brent (Nancy) Luetzow, and Brian (Cris) Luetzow; grandchildren Sandra (Ashley) Honey, Ryan (Julie) Luetzow, Christen (Peter) Amenta, Katrina Luetzow, Jacob (Jemme) Luetzow, Rachel Luetzow, Beth (Dan) Marko, Kim (fiance Dave Brock), Brittney, Ashley and Alex Luetzow; great-grandchildren Olivia and Christian Honey, Connor Luetzow, Sebastian Amenta, Norah and William Marko; brother, Ebner “Gus” (Joan) Luetzow; and other relatives and friends. Albert was preceded in death by his parents, Ebner and Rose Luetzow, and brothers, William and Kenneth. Visitation Saturday, January 31, 2015, at The Chapel of St. John the Evangelist at St. John’s on the Lake 1840 N. Prospect Avenue from 10:00 a.m. until time of the Funeral Service at 11:00 a.m. Private Interment Forest Home Cemetery. If desired in lieu of flowers, memorials to Wounded Warrior Project. To leave a memory or to sign the guestbook visit Albert’s Memory Page at www.suminskifuneralhome.com.