Ronald Edward Dittrich, age 97, of Bark River (Hyde), passed away Tuesday evening, December 29, 2020 at OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba. Ronald was born to Otto and Rose (Posenke) Dittrich on February 23, 1923 at the family home in Ford River. Ron was raised on the family farm near Hyde and attended the Porath School. He worked on the farm until 1942 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was trained and assigned as ball turret gunner on a B-24 bomber. After arriving in Southern Europe, he was reassigned to a B-17 bomber. Ron’s crew of 10 flew 50 missions with the 2nd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force and they survived two crash landings. He was discharged in 1945. He met his wife Beatrice Wittlock in Ford River and they were married on March 12, 1949. Together, the couple just celebrated their 71st anniversary. He built his family’s home in Hyde with logs from his property which he sawed into lumber at the Dittrich family sawmill. He went to work at Harnischfeger as a lathe operator and maintenance mechanic for 32 years until the company closed. Ron had a love of gardening and sold vegetables at the Farmer’s Market in Escanaba for over 50 years. He was well known by all who shopped for their produce and gladiolus. Ron enjoyed playing cards and spending time with his family. He also loved the outdoors-especially hunting and fishing. He would travel to Canada every year and also hunt at camp one week each year. He was a long-time active member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hyde (WELS).
Ronald Edward Dittrich is survived by his children, Beverly Dittrich (Mike Clark) of Atlanta, GA, Russell (Karla) Dittrich of Spring Creek, NV, Dan (Heidi) Dittrich of Lummi Island, WA, Howard (Karlene) Dittrich of Canton, GA, Elaine (Dave) Huckstep of Escanaba, Diane Dittrich Shea of Atlanta, GA, and Ken (Tracy) Dittrich of Manitowoc, WI; 16 grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; his brother, Francis Dittrich of Gladstone; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Ron was preceded in death by his wife Beatrice Dittrich on October 6, 2020; his brothers, Carl, Clarence, and Roger; and his sisters, Florence Blake, and Edna Kremer.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Saturday, January 2, 2021 at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hyde. Funeral services celebrating the life of Ronald will follow at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, with Rev. Ronald Zindler officiating. Military Honors will be conducted at the conclusion of the services. Burial will take place the West Ford River Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hyde.
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