Clarence W. Bittner was born on June 21, 1925 to Robert W. and Theresa (Kocher) Bittner in Chilton, WI, and died June 18, 2021 at the Senior Life Care Center in Reedsburg at the age of 95.
Clarence and his three younger sisters grew up on a farm just outside Chilton, and attended both grade school and high school in Chilton. During World War II, at the end of his senior year in high school, Clarence enlisted in the Army Signal Corps. He graduated on June 4, 1943 before reporting to Milwaukee Area Technical College for electronics training. He was subsequently sent to Fort Benning, GA and Ft. Bragg, NC for combat training.
Clarence had the honor of playing the trumpet in the Armed Forces Day parade in New York City before shipping out for combat in Europe. He was wounded by shrapnel on Mont St. Jean in France on November 9, 1944, and was awarded the purple heart. He returned to the U.S. for rehab and was honorably discharged from the Army on September 19, 1945. He joined the American Legion and became a life member of the VFW.
After his discharge from the Army, Clarence started school at Oshkosh State Teachers College. On August7, 1948, Clarence married Bernadette Durben at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Stockbridge, WI. He received his bachelor’s degree in Oshkosh the following spring, with a double major in math and physics.
That fall Clarence and Bernadette moved to Reedsburg, WI, where he began his teaching career at Reedsburg High School. Later Clarence attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and was awarded a Master of Science in Teaching degree. He spent his entire teaching career in Reedsburg, and received a Distinguished Service Award from the State of Wisconsin in acknowledgment of his 30 years of devoted service toward the education of Wisconsin’s youth.
Clarence was a man of many talents. His hobbies included fishing, listening to classical music, reading, solving word puzzles, and growing flowers.
Clarence was preceded in death by his son Gerard Bittner of Reedsburg, WI; his sister Dorothy (Frederick) Schnell of Kiel, WI; and his brother Harold, who died as an infant.
Clarence is survived by Bernadette, his loving wife of nearly 73 years; sisters Alice Bittner of Chilton, WI and Irene (Jack) Smith of Gardnerville, NV; children: Mary Bittner, of Ypsilanti, MI; Robert (Janet) Bittner of Redding, CA; and Barbara (Kenneth) Paul, of Ft. Collins, CO; grandchildren Christina (Ben) Abbey and Anda Paul, both of Ft. Collins, CO; many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to say a special thank you to all the people who provided loving care for Clarence and Bernadette while they lived in their Mack Drive condo and at the Senior Life Care Center in Reedsburg.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, June 28, 2021 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 624 N. Willow St., Reedsburg, with Fr. Patrick Wendler officiating. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the church. Face masks and social distancing will be required. Interment with military honors will follow in Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
The Hoof Funeral Home in Reedsburg is assisting the family with the arrangements.
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