Earl Ericksen Zietz, 95, of Middleton, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully the evening of December 31, 2022. He was born Earl Borre Ericksen in Chicago on May 3,1927 to Borre and Olga Ericksen, who had recently immigrated from Norway. Unfortunately, tuberculosis struck Earl’s mother which took her life when he was only two years old. It was the beginning of the Depression, and Borre quickly felt unable to care for Earl and his older sister, June. Borre placed the two young children in an orphanage and left Chicago on a quest for a job. When things became much worse, he gave up his parental rights and asked a Norwegian cousin and her husband to adopt both Earl and June. Dorothea Zietz and her husband, Albert, finalized the adoption of Earl and June on February 20, 1937.
Earl attended school in Chicago, and while in high school, he met the love of his life, Suzanne Gall, at a New Year’s Eve party given by a mutual friend. Instantly, they seemed to realize that they were destined to be together, and began dating only each other throughout the remainder of high school. Upon graduating, Earl enlisted in the Army Air Force, and was stationed at an emergency re-fueling airport in Canada. He was trained in weather forecasting, using weather balloons to determine atmospheric conditions. On December 22, 1946, Earl received an Honorable Discharge and went to school to attain a degree in radio and television engineering. Upon graduation, Earl and Suzanne were married on March 6, 1948. Earl remained deeply devoted to Suzanne throughout their 74 years of marriage.
Although the couple originally planned to live in Chicago, Earl learned about an up-and-coming radio/television station in Milwaukee, WTMJ. He applied and was hired, and now Milwaukee became the young couple’s permanent home. They raised two daughters and a son, and in spite of some challenging work hours, Earl was a devoted husband and father, always making time with family a high priority. Earl worked for WTMJ for 41 ½ years and loved the job with its great variety of studio and remote work. He also filled the family’s basement with televisions which he repaired part-time to provide some extra income. However, upstairs there was little television-watching – especially on school nights. Earl did not want his children wasting time watching the “box,” and would offer to read the encyclopedia with them if they claimed they had no homework. His family knew he cared and loved them very much.
Earl was very creative and enjoyed inventing his own versions of helpful devices around the house. He also enjoyed outdoor activities and bowling and played golf into his early 90's. Being a man of strong faith, Earl knew he would soon be moving to Heaven and discussed that with God and his family quite often. He continued to live independently until his passing.
Earl is survived by his wife of 74 years, Suzanne Zietz, children Karen (Tom) Bruce, Marsha (Paul) Henfer, Fred (Kara) Zietz, grandchildren Erik (Randi) Bruce, Amanda Henfer, Bryan (Jessica) Henfer, Christopher Henfer, Nathan (Brittany) Henfer, Wade (Kayla) Bruce, Zachary (Kathryn) Zietz, Taylor, Adrian, Bryson and Dacion Zietz, and 12 Great Grandchildren.
Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 7, 2023 at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 6815 Schneider Rd, Middleton, WI, with Reverend Randy Hunter officiating. A visitation will be held from 9 a.m. until the time of service. Military Honors and a luncheon will follow at church. Burial will take place in Wisconsin Memorial Park, Brookfield, WI at 2:45 p.m.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Wounded Warriors United of Wisconsin, https://www.woundedwarriorsunitedwi.org/
We welcome you to share your memories here on Earl's tribute wall.
6021 University Ave. Madison