Obituary: Pat (Kerpan) Dittmer

March 1, 1936 – Feb. 5, 2020

Pat Dittmer, 83, died peacefully, finally triumphing over a long-term condition that battered her body, but not her spirit.

Pat was born in Waukegan, Illinois, into a large extended Croatian family that surrounded her with love and instilled in her a lifelong commitment to the Catholic faith. She graduated from Waukegan High School and for decades stayed connected with her classmates and other friends from her childhood. Pat was a high-energy organizer and people person, and for several years she brought those skills to bear in her secretarial job at Johns Manville Corporation.

In 1963, Pat married Richard “Dick” Dittmer, and the two began a 56-year journey together that took them to more than 50 countries across seven continents. They spent most of their early years together in Lake Villa, Illinois, but they later lived in Gurnee, Illinois, Austin, Texas, and Gills Rock.

Pat eschewed traditional hobbies, preferring instead to pour her incredible energy into supporting her family and friends, and volunteering for schools, churches and nonprofits. She proudly served in leadership positions for Croatian cultural organizations, and some of her most treasured memories were of visits to her family’s ancestral home in Croatia. Most recently, Pat was an active member of Stella Maris Parish in Sister Bay, where she provided a warm and welcoming presence as a greeter, usher and volunteer for many years.

Pat is survived by her husband, Dick; daughters, Mary Ann (Erik) Rinkleff and Wendy Dittmer (Jason LaTurner); and grandchildren, Anka and Jaxon Rinkleff. She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Anna Kerpan; and sister, Carol Ann Kerpan-Evans.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Tuesday, Feb. 11, 10:30 am, at Stella Maris Parish in Sister Bay (formerly St. Rosalia Catholic Church). Pat will be laid to rest in St. Rosalia Cemetery.

Friends may call at the church Monday, Feb. 10, 4-7 pm; and Tuesday, Feb. 11, 9-10:20 am. A rosary will be prayed Monday, Feb. 10, 3:45 pm, at the church. A prayer service at 7 pm at the church will close the evening on Feb. 10.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay.

Casperson Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Sister Bay is assisting the Dittmer family. Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos of Pat can be shared through her tribute page at

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