Fitchburg, WI (Excerpt from published obituary)
Simon Hertzler, age 73 went to be with his Lord at 1:24 a.m. on February 1, 1999 after losing his battle with cancer. Si died at home with his family and the support of Hospice. Si always accepted the challenges life brought him and worked hard to make the best of them, he remained true to that to the end, trying to shield his family as long as he could from the impact of his cancer.
The accomplishments and challenges in Siís life were many, beginning with service in the Navy aboard the destroyer USS SIGSBEE DD-502. The SIGSBEE was hit by a kamikaze on April 14, 1945, with most of her deck awash, she was towed into Pearl Harbor. Si then spent three years in the Marine Reserves, seeing action in the Korean War. He returned to his home in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where he began what eventually became his lifeís work and career love in the fire service. Following in his fatherís footsteps, Si became a volunteer in the Washington Co. of the Mechanicsburg Fire Department. Siís son, grandson and granddaughter made the third and fourth generation Hertzlerís on the department.
Through the early years, Si had various jobs, it was truck driving that brought him to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he met Shirley. It had to be fate, as they shared with each other that first night that they both had been married before, and they each had two children, a girl and a boy, both the same ages, and both the same names. Needless to say, they fell in love and were married on Thanksgiving Day 1953. Together they created a family of "yours, mine, and ours," thought everyone was always treated like "ours".
In 1954, Si returned to his love of the fire service, taking a fire fighter position at Great Lakes Naval Technical College in Kenosha. It was this position that eventually brought him to Madison in February 1976, when he accepted the position of Fire Consultant for the State of Wisconsin, for the Board of Vocational Technical and Adult Education. Si was forced into retirement after a stroke in 1991. After making a nearly complete recovery he was offered and accepted the position of Fitchburg Fire Chief.
The two years and nine months that he served as chief was rewarding and completed the circle of his fire career. During his years in Kenosha, Si was an active member of the V.F.W. Post 1865, as well as the Badger Pup Tent 6 of the Cooties, which is the hospital organization of the V.F.W. of which Si was a lifetime member. He became a member of Post 1318 when he came to Madison. Si was a 32nd degree Mason, belonging to the Free Masonís Lodge 47 in Kenosha, a member of the Valley of the Scottish Rite Bodies of Milwaukee, and the Zor Shrine of Madison.
In recent years Si was reunited with the crewmembers of the SIGSBEE through annual reunions. In the last 12 years many friendships were renewed, many stories were told and many wounds were healed. Siís life was spent in service of others as he gave to his family, church, and career in the vain of improving the lives of others. Si will always be remembered, loved, and deeply missed by his family and many friends. Wife, Shirley, children, and grandchildren survive him.