Obituary: Erwin “Erv” Hitzeman, Jr.

March 15, 1939 – Oct. 6, 2023

Erwin “Erv” Carl Hitzeman, Jr., 84, of Ellison Bay, fell asleep in the loving arms of his family and awoke in the arms of the Lord, late Friday night, Oct. 6, 2023, while in the comfort of his home. “This is the day the Lord has made…Let us rejoice and be glad in it” is the verse from the Psalms on the wall of his home, and he tried to live by the words of Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Erv, or “Butch” as some knew him earlier in life, was born March 15, 1939 in Elmhurst, IL to Erwin Carl Hitzeman, Sr. and Alice Linnea (Thylander) Hitzeman. He grew up in Glen Ellyn, IL and graduated from Glenbard High School in 1957. Erv went on to study at Taylor University in Upland, IN. He married his high school sweetheart, Carolyn Jean Unser, on Sept. 24, 1960 at Wheaton Evangelical Free Church in Wheaton, IL.

They were blessed with five children: Steven, Scott, Brent, Reid, and Holly, who were all born when Erv and Carolyn lived in Glen Ellyn and Wheaton.

In 1975, after a few years of camping at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek, they realized that Door County was where they wanted to live, and so they moved to Sister Bay.

Erv quickly became involved in the local government, getting elected to the Village Board, and served as Village President from 1983 until 1985, and also from 1992 to 1995, during the time the Sister Bay marina was expanded.

He initially worked as a carpenter and then a general contractor while living in Illinois. When they moved to Door County, Erv built a few homes and then was offered a job at Lampert Lumber in Sister Bay, eventually becoming the manager. After his retirement, he worked for his wife’s business, Professional Realty of Door County, selling real estate until his stroke in 2009.

Erv was an active member of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay and served as chairman of the building committee, both when the church was built and during the construction of the addition to the church.

He and Carolyn were very fortunate to share interests in nature, music, art, horses, sailing, and travel. They hiked nearly every Sunday with their kids and also had a sailboat, “Camelot”. Erv and Carolyn traveled to 50 countries, and after Erv’s stroke, their miniature horses, Trisket and Oreana, have visited residents at Good Samaritan Society-Scandia Village (nursing home) in Sister Bay for the past 10 years.

Being able to continue to live in the beautiful home Erv designed was a blessing. He enjoyed watching the birds, deer, squirrels, raccoons, the sky, and meadow and woods surrounding the house.

Erv’s family has reflected on how fortunate they are to have had such a wise, compassionate, and loving husband, father, and grandfather.

Erv will be missed by his wife, Carolyn with whom he shared over 63 years of marriage; five children, Steven (Teresa) of Green Bay, Scott (Denise) of Scotts Valley, CA, Brent (Camilla) of Ellison Bay, Reid (Heidi) of Baileys Harbor, and Holly (Joel) Thomas of Sister Bay; nine grandchildren; Tyler and Neal Hitzeman, Theodore, Ava, and Jackson Hitzeman; Madeline and Alexander Hitzeman and Payton and Kenzie Thomas; two siblings, John (Betty) Hitzeman of Navasota, TX and Susan (John) Mikulecky of Naperville, IL; other relatives; and dear friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; grandson, Gavin Thomas, two siblings, Carol (Robert) Weinbauer and Ernest Hitzeman; and other relatives.

Erv’s life was honored with a funeral service held at 11:15 am on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023 at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, 11836 State Highway 42, Ellison Bay, WI 54210 with Pastor James Honig officiating. He was laid to rest in Little Sister Cemetery in the Town of Liberty Grove.

Visitation for family and friends was held at the church from 10 am until 11 am.

Memorials may be given in Erv’s name for Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, Peninsula Music Festival, or Door County Land Trust.

“Special thanks to his long-term caregiver, Jennifer Berns, and to Holly Runquist who made it possible to pass peacefully in the home he loved.”

Casperson Funeral Home in Sister Bay assisted the Hitzeman family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Erv may be shared with his family through his tribute page at