John Elzinga, 82, of Racine, died early Monday morning, October 26, 2009, at the Golden Living Center in Kenosha, where he had been a resident since September 2009.
John was born on December 18, 1926, in Racine to the late Andrew and Rose Bylsma Elzinga.
He married Dorothy Mae Matson on February 24, 1951, in Racine.
John interrupted his high school education during World War II to join the U.S. Marine Corps, rising to rank of corporal. He served as a forward artillery spotter during the invasion of Okinawa, and later guarded supply trains in China. Following his honorable discharge from the Marines, John returned to Racine and graduated from William Horlick High School.
A gifted athlete, John focused his talents on baseball as a young man. He signed a contract to play Triple A baseball as a pitcher in the Chicago White Sox organization, and played two years at the professional level until experiencing a serious back injury. However, he continued to play baseball for many more years with the semi-pro baseball team, the Racine Redbirds. Later in life, John was an avid golfer and bowler, and he remained a devoted Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers fan.
During his working years, John was Traffic Manager at George Gorton Machine Corporation; and Terminal Manager in Kenosha and later Director of Sales in Milwaukee for Yellow Freight System. In 1991, John retired from Siam Transportation as Vice President of Sales and Operations.
John is survived by his wife, Dorothy; and his three children: Jeff (Valerie) of Howards Grove, WI; Denise Lee of Racine; and Beth Elzinga of Racine. He is also survived by his sister, Tina Michael, of Redding, CA; and his six grandchildren: Julia Lee, Logan Lee, Eliot Elzinga, Celine Elzinga, Gabrielle Elzinga-Marshall, and Paul Elzinga; and several nieces and nephews.
John was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, August; and his sister Dorothy Rauwerda.
Funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, October 30, 2009, at First Presbyterian Church, 716 College Ave., Racine, with Rev. Steve Fringer officiating. Burial will be at West Lawn Memorial Cemetary, 9000 Washington Ave., Racine, immediately following the service. Family and friends may call at the church from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Friday. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that memorial donations be given to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America at www.alzfdn.org.
MARESH-MEREDITH & ACKLAM FUNERAL HOME
803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888