Remembering Laura Sitzberger (Gillitzer), 45, of Campbellsport, WI
Laura joined her mother Nancy in eternal life on February 11, 2022. Laura attended West Bend High School and graduated from UW Madison with a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science. In 7th grade Laura met her best friend, Mike Sitzberger, who became the love of her life(see their love story below). Mike and Laura built a home and have four children; Paige, Michael, Conner, Bella.
Laura's love for her husband, children, and entire family will be valued for many generations. Her passion for breeding Golden Retrievers and helping others has touched many people's lives. Laura would talk to a stranger who seemed upset (which often ended in a hug), she would pay for people's groceries or food at a drive through. All this was to help make a stranger's day better. She knew that these small efforts that take virtually no time could have a profound impact on their day and maybe life. If you are reading this, please take time to be like Laura and find simple ways to help make someone's day better, it is more rewarding than you can imagine.
Laura was preceded in death by her mother, Nancy Gillitzer, and is survived by her father, Martin Gillitzer; sister, Lisa Hankerson(Scott Graskey); brother, Lance Gillitzer(Nikki); twin sister Leah Lietzke(Bill); Mother & Father-in-law Mike & Barb Sitzberger; sister-in-law Stacy Hanson; sister-in-law Amy Fiess(Kevin); her beloved nieces & nephews Kasey, Brett, Jacob, Courtney, Kaitlyn, Kaden, Grace, Brooklyn, Logan, Seth; and many family and friends.
Laura’s life will be celebrated at Campbellsport Alliance Church, N1876 Highway V in Campbellsport, WI on Saturday, February 26 at 1 p.m. Prayer & Words from family 1:30 to 2 p.m. Fellowship & Sharing Memories 2-4 p.m.
In Lieu of flowers, family and friends coordinated a family memorial: donation care of Michael Sitzberger, mailed to Campbellsport Alliance Church, N1876 Highway V in Campbellsport, WI 53010
Laura's Love Story (written by her husband)
LMN you Lora
It is with a heavy heart that I am sharing yesterday (2/11) I lost my best friend, wife, and mother of my children. She had a surgery and struggled with some complications that led to her joining her mother in heaven. Sleep eludes me at 3 am so the rest of this may get lengthy and punctuated poorly (uhhh yeah lack of sleep caused that), but I hope you will find the words worth reading.
MY ASK: If you reach out to me, please know I may not reply, but it does not mean I do not appreciate your words. PLEASE help my kids understand their mom even more with ANY and as many stories of her as you can.
But wait, those who know Laura would not want you to be sad. So, sit right back and you’ll hear a tale—a tale of a perfect life. I met Laura on a basketball court where I mistakenly went for the same ball she did. I found my arm being grabbed, ripped off, and somehow, I was kissing the divider wall at Silverbrook Middle School. This is where my story starts with Laura. She was 5’4” and full of fire. Probably smaller then, but no less punch. We sent “Hi Mike” and “Hi LORA” notes (I did not know how to spell her name). You see, she liked my friend Jesse. Laura paid $20 to Tony and me for a recording of Jesse (cracking voice and all) singing I Will Remember You by Skid Row (ahhhh to be young). As with many things, this ended and we went into our freshman year of High School. My sister Amy got Laura’s sister Lisa to drive her to my house where they proceeded to make me date Laura. We held hands on the bus and I helped do her homework, because our handwriting was equally bad. This did not last as God’s plan was for us to become best friends. When she was 16, I bought her a black hills gold ring (that is special in my family) to show her what she meant to me as a friend. She was family. She did not take that ring off for 29 years until yesterday. We continued to be close through high school guiding each other when we were being dumb (aka teenagers).
After high school, I asked Laura to come with me to my uncle’s wedding as, she was my BAE (as the kids say, or maybe they don’t) to come along. We slow danced to When You Say Nothing at All by Alison Krause, a song that summed up our life. My sisters (Stacey and Amy) “accidently” bumped into us at the same time pushing us from the arm’s length grandma style dance to a close dance. After I drove her home, we were talking about what we are looking for in a person. Maybe it was the sleepiness of two AM that helped us realize we were describing each other exactly and we ask “Why didn’t we not see this sooner?” From there on we were one. Holding hands—hot and sweaty—for a five-hour car ride because you never want to let go.
Never was there a doubt that this beautiful woman who almost ripped my arm off would be holding my arm for life. She was willing to be arms deep in grease while fixing a car or dolled up in a dress at Pieces of 8 (our first date). I know, right? The perfect girl. Even when her dad, Marty held a machete to a sensitive southern area making sure I treated his daughter with respect (I did) scared me off. Laura went to college in Madison and I visited every weekend, shooting out the door of work on Friday and waiting until the last second on Monday at four AM to go to work.
It was time for me to ask Laura’s parents to marry her. Being naturally afraid of Marty because Laura was his little girl, I asked Nancy to breakfast to find out how not to get hurt. After dragging out why I asked her to breakfast (I enjoyed that as Nancy liked the dish) I told her my intent and she welcomed it and said I should have no concerns. So, after a day of helping Marty work (figured I would tire him out) I asked him. He got very serious and I think the only time in my life did he approve of us getting married. I told my parents, Barb and Mike, and they said it was about time. Mom said it was obvious from the first day she was helping me fix a car that she was not going anywhere and dad had already seen her as a daughter. I told her twin sister Leah that I was going to ask her. She helped me plan the best/cheesiest way possible. I caught the garter—Laura caught the bouquet. We had 10 people on each side of us who ran from them like the plague so we got them. I went down on one knee and said “Laura, we have been best friends for 10 years, I want to be best friends for the rest of our life” to which Laura said “Noooooo”. Or that was all the crowd of 200+ could hear, she was in disbelief and said “Oh my God, nooooo” and through a snotty, teared filled kiss, she said “Yes!” After Lance almost knocked us over, we once again danced to our song: When You Say Nothing at All.
Finally on June 19, 1999 I was blessed more than any man could have been. I made Laura my wife at her parents’ house; outdoors with fireworks, help me signs under coat tails, do not disturbed signs, ho-down, cellos, group huddles to make sure how to answer will you take her to be your wife. We had our reception at Skate Country, because we spent so much time there as kids. Then we needed a place to live so we went to the neighbor to see if they wanted to sell their parents’ 39 acres and the old farmhouse. He said “I don’t know, I really never thought about it, I suppose so.” We got back from our honeymoon, handed a check for more money than I ever had, and in July 2019 we moved into our house. The glass in the windows rattled and there were mouse traps with bones left. We spent the next 19 years tearing down and adding on. Doing everything with the help of my dad, Laura’s dad, brothers, sisters, books from the library and when the internet came, we used that. It was a labor of love (most of the time). We sold that house and bought a property that had a lot on the lake. Because of Laura pushing me to buy our first house and land (which I don’t know I would have without her support) we were able to build our final house on the lake. Our dream came true. She said I could not do any of the work because she wanted to move in and I mostly listened. Lance, her brother, helped us by moving schedules and getting the electric done. This was key in helping us move in and allowed Laura to enjoy our house before she left.
Along the way Laura gave me my four amazing children. This section is hard, I cannot describe what Laura gave to them. She did it in ways with a mother’s view that I never could have. They are who they are because of her. They were the center of our world. Laura’s helped instill moral compassion, caring, helping others, doing the right thing, and spiritual guidance in ways that they needed which changed kid by kid. Even when they would not stay in time outs, or figured out how to say no back to us. She loved and guided them through it all.
I will give you a glimpse of our amazing kids (or this would be even more words). First came Paige, born with such red lips, people thought I put lipstick on her. She was like her mom, wearing a mini bride’s dress on top of a dirt pile. She shared her life stories that Laura drank up and gave advice for. Then Michael, who immediately took to the cello and played music that warmed Laura’s heart and has so much love for his family, even during time outs. Conner was next, he waited until 6 centimeters to go from head down to butt down, resulting in a C-section. He is a wrestler and makes Laura crazy and proud (wrestling moms know what I mean). Here is a bit of TMI for you: I was set to no longer have kids (yup snip snip). The day of my procedure, I got a call from Laura saying she had love left and pointed out that so did I. This is a true testament to how great our kids are. Staying at home with 3 kids would drive most to tap out. I am glad for her wisdom, as we were blessed with our fourth and final child, Bella. Bella will say and do the darndest things to make you smile. I see glimmers of Laura and her phrases in all of my kids, but Bella seems to pull more of them out. God gave me 4 kids, all with bits of Laura so she will be with me always.
If you made it this far, I will try to be brief. I have re-written this paragraph no less than 50 times. I am trying to find a way to convey the love I felt for her, and how much she changed me for the better, but God did not give us the ability to express words enough. We hardly ever fought in our marriage, which gave us so much more quality time in the short time we have had. This was largely due to Laura, as she was willing to bend until my block head could come around and see how I was wrong. She ALWAYS supported me in every decision I made. When Michael came down the stairs and said “Dad, when are you going to quit your job so we can see you?” Laura did not hesitate when I said I was going to leave a very successful job, which I loved and worked towards for 20 years. She reminded me of what true love and success was and that made the decision so much easier. That was over 5 years ago and my life is so much fuller because of her support. She helped over 30 years to guide me towards God, a relationship I would not have had without her, and need, especially now. When we first got married, the marriage counselor/test lady said that the bible said that the wife will obey the husband. I laughed because I thought she was joking. Laura over time helped me understand that her obeying (I say supporting my decisions) only made me want to seek her guidance and value her opinion before I made decisions. You see, this is a glimpse into Laura’s wisdom. I recently found that the passage has a second part; a man must treat his wife as God would treat man. She helped me do that without me knowing.
The end, for now: Before she left she talked about friends and family and how she wanted them all to know she loved them and she was soooo thankful for all they gave us and how they made her life blessed and fantastic. I was woke up at 03:14 yesterday morning for no reason. One minute later, I received a call that Laura’s heart stopped, she knew I needed to be there and came to me. She was revived many times throughout the day. We had our last dance around 16:24 last night. I played When You Say Nothing at All one last time when I knew she was ready for her mom to guide her home. Her heart stopped, but the song was not done. She came back to me one last time and willed her heart to beat a little longer for me and we finished our dance….as that song ended and so did my best friend.
I wish I could do Laura better justice than these few words but I will leave you with things that help us live a full life:
• Everyone says relationships are 50/50. If you do that, you are cheating, you can each give 100%. Laura always gave me 100%.
• God; we cannot always understand his plan. But he gave me Laura since 7th grade, to be a friend, lover, wife, and a mother. He helped us not fight so we did not waste the precious little time we had on things that do not matter which allowed us to focus on us
• Please do this, we learned it in a seminar and practiced it yearly. Dim the lights, play some soft music, hold your spouse and talk to them as though they are dead. It is intimate, and you realize what you will miss when they are gone. And then PLEASE love them for everything they are and are not! Find ways to complete each other, because you can and you deserve to.
• The people closest to use are often the ones we take for granted. I am guilty of this, but I tried every day to do one thing for Laura that she did not know about every day. I moved a coin in my wallet from one side to the other every day. I would not move it until I did something for her; dishes, my own socks, etc. My advice on this one is to get a bag of coins because you will never regret doing things for them. When they are gone, you will only regret not doing more of them.
I want to thank everyone who helped Laura through the years to make her time here better. Every interaction she had with you made her life worth living.
I LMN You Laura (love you, miss you, need you…it was our thing) I will see you someday!