William "Skippy" Lietz
William “Skippy” Lietz, Jr., 84, of Bloomington, Ill. — my best friend, my hero and love of my life — passed away at 5:04 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012 at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. His big heart stopped beating after a very long fight.
There will be no public services. Carmody-Flynn Williamsburg Funeral Home in Bloomington is assisting the family.
He was born Aug. 28, 1928 in Chicago, the only son of William and Rose Gruba Lietz. He had three sisters, one survives. He joined the army at age 17 and served in World War II. He was also drafted twice for service in Korea. He was a proud American and served 39 years on the Chicago Fire Department in the heart of the city.
He saw it all, and loved every minute. After nine months with the department, he was buried in a collapsed building for nine hours. He had two very badly injured knees, but wanted to stay “on the job.” Surgery could have left him on the “disabled list,” but he wanted to be a fireman.
Skippy was also an official “Humane Investigator” of animal cruelty for the State of Illinois with the Animal Welfare League. He helped change laws and prosecute animal abusers and would do this after his shift at the firehouse.
After 39 years of service as a firefighter, he was forced to retire at age 64 due to an age requirement and he moved to Bloomington. He continued to travel back and forth to Chicago three to four days a week for some time, to work at the Animal Welfare League. He also drove the shuttle bus at the Central Illinois Regional Airport until his knees gave out.
Skippy loved people and all animals. He had a biting sense of humor.
He had no children of his own, but was a loving stepfather to two and had four step-grandchildren, who he dearly loved and enjoyed as his own. They love Grandpa Skippy.
Luckily he met Brian Tobin, a Firefighter in Normal, and became the “unofficial mascot” for Brian’s shift at the firehouse. He also visited the Bloomington firehouses as well.
All families have their own “heroes.” Skippy was mine and how lucky I was to love him for 30 years.
– Sandra Lietz
“He’s the hard-working, thoughtful and sensitive kind, an honest and warmhearted man — he’s simply a person who’s doing his best to live life as well as he can. You’ll probably not see his name up in lights, his goal is not glory or fame, he may not be chosen as man of the year, and not all will remember his name. He most highly values the people he loves and friendship, to him, is a prize — Contentment with life can be seen in his face and happiness shines in his eyes. He’ll share what he has with somebody in need, Find time to help those in distress — He might not be famous, he may not be rich, but, at living, this man’s a success.”
– L.L. Elrod