Cress Funeral Home



Fredric E. Grutzner
February 21, 1936 - April 13, 2019

Fredric E. Grutzner

Fredric E. Grutzner
Feb 21, 1936 - Apr 13, 2019

Fredric E. Grutzner
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Fredric (Fritz) E. Grutzner

Madison -- Fritz Grutzner, 83, died on April 13, 2019. He leaves Janice, his wife of 61 years, and five children: Heidi (Don), Fritz (Kris), Eric (Barb), Lisbeth and Jon (Julie). He was a source support and great fun to his grandchildren: Molly (Dan), Thomas, Elisa, Michael, Eva (Bradley), Sophie, Anna, Erich, Mackenzie, Tyler, Clara, and Maddie.

Fritz had a big personality and an even bigger heart.

He was born in Beloit, Wisconsin on February 21, 1936 to Fritz and Gertrude Grutzner. At Beloit High, he lettered in baseball, golf and football. While in Junior High, Janice saw a baseball game and somehow knew at that moment that she would marry the guy playing third base. He went to the UW -- Madison on a baseball scholarship, played trombone in the marching band, and graduated from the UW School of Commerce in 1958. Fritz and Janice married later that year.

Fritz was a creative thinker and a hard worker. He was a salesman for National Cash Register and a real-estate developer with Madsen Construction (later, Meridian.) He made important contributions to the community in affordable housing through his work with Future Madison and Madsen. Fritz and Janice were both very involved with the early work of the Drop-In Shelter and Transitional Housing, now called Porchlight.

Fritz's family was always at the center of his life. His kids remember he never missed a swim meet, tennis or lacrosse match, soccer game, crew regatta, or band or choir concert. Friends loved his humor and ability to make a game of everything, whether it was competing in racquetball, tennis, or a game of Hearts. Fritz made life fun for the people around him and his many groups of friends. These included, The Group, book club, Advocates (whose ironic motto was Self Before Service), Sunday night dinner & a movie, sheepshead and cribbage (he was pretty sure Tinker still owed him money). He spent many happy, gorgeous days with his friends and family on Madeline Island, where he was always organizing a blanket toss, a game of bocce ball, or telling stories around his famous campfire.

Fritz put fun into our lives every day. His kindness, humor and wisdom live on in the many sayings we just can't get out of our heads, including:

· You can't soar with the eagles if you hoot with the owls.
· I'll bet you a lemon phosphate.
· The problem is you're standing too close to the ball after you hit it.

Fritz really disliked wearing ties and going to funerals. In lieu of a formal service, the family will host three smaller, informal celebrations of Fritz's life at the home of Janice and Fritz. Friends and family are free to drop by any one of them on May 10 (any time between 1:00-4:00PM or 7:00-9:00PM) and May 11 (1:00-5:00PM). Please contact or if you need the address. Please share any memories and stories about Fritz online at In lieu of gifts or flowers, donations can be made in Fritz's honor to Porchlight or the Grutzner Madeline Island Fund Janice would also very much welcome visits from friends and family over the course of the next year.

Tracy Hook on May 3, 2019

So sorry to hear of Fritz's passing. I worked with Fritz at Madsen and then Meridian. He was a wonderful man who always had a smile for you. My mother passed away very unexpectedly in 1995. Both Fritz and Doug Madsen came to her visitation and I still remember their kindness. RIP my friend.

Jerry Smith on Apr 19, 2019

We're very sorry to lose an old friend, fellow Badger, former islander and wonderful spirit. Jerry & Janet Smith

Jerry Smith on Apr 19, 2019

Jacqueline Doyle on Apr 16, 2019

Janice, Betsy, Tyler, Clara, Eric, Barb, Fritz and Kris - I’m so sorry to hear about Fritz’s passing. My boys (Seamus & Ronan) and I will never forget His and your collective response to our 🐻 “encounter” on Madeline Island. All of you made us feel genuinely comfortable and welcome. What wonderful memories he leaves behind. Peace to all of You and Yours.
-Jacqueline Doyle

Mick Mullee on Apr 15, 2019

Fritz and I worked side by side for many years to promote affordable housing opportunities in Wisconsin. I was proud of the work we accomplished together and even more grateful to share in his zest and exuberance for work and life. He saw some refreshing humor in almost everything. We shared values of life in our love for our wives, children and friends. Rest in Peace good soul, and prepare a path for us to follow on your new spiritual venture. You will be missed, my friend.
Mick Mullee



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