Roger Wiltz

Wagner

Roger Allen Wiltz of Wagner, 80, passed away on Sept. 5, 2022, after a short battle with brain and liver cancer.

Roger asked for his life to be celebrated. His family plans to have an intimate gathering of family and local friends in Wisconsin, followed by a Celebration of Life gathering in Wagner next summer. Well wishes and/or tributes can be left on Roger’s CaringBridge website at www.caringbridge/rogerwiltz.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Rotary International Foundation or American Cancer Society in Roger’s memory at https://www.rotary.org/en/donate or https://donate3.cancer.org. 

He was born on April 12, 1942, son of John and Lucille (Olsen) Wiltz. Although Roger was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, he loved his summers at Cedar Lake and ultimately left the city for South Dakota State University on a football scholarship. It was in Brookings where he met his wife, Betsy, and cemented his love for the outdoors.  Early in his education career, he taught and coached wrestling and/or football in Willow Lake, Parkston, and Burke. His career culminated as a high school principal in Wagner, and retirement was followed by time in Tripp as a guidance counselor and teacher. 

Roger continued to stay busy in retirement, hunting, fishing, and writing a weekly outdoor column in several local newspapers, including the Sanborn Weekly Journal, highlighting these outdoor adventures. With almost 50 years of weekly columns under his belt, Roger compiled a book of his most popular articles and published it. He went on to write two more books about his outdoor adventures and his childhood.  He also published articles and stories in numerous other literary outlets. 

Throughout his adult life, Roger was active in Rotary International and other civic organizations, in addition to volunteering his time with his local parish. He loved history and enjoyed travel, as well as black powder shoots with his buddies. His favorite times were spent with his family, especially fishing with his grandkids. Within just a few short weeks prior to Roger’s cancer diagnosis and quick decline, he had traveled to the Gulf Shores with his family and to Canada to fish with friends. In the end, he mentioned that, not only did he feel he was “going out in a blaze of glory,” but also that he was the happiest he’d ever been in his life, surrounded by the love of his family. He was reassured that his love of life and generous spirit was always larger than himself and that his spirit will continue to live on forever through the lives that he touched as an educator, author, father and friend.

Roger is survived by his wife, Betsy (Hodgson) Wiltz; his daughters, Laurie Fisher, Lisa Ladson and LuAnn Shay; six grandchildren; his brother, Mike; and several cousins, nieces and nephews. 

Roger was preceded in death by his parents; in-laws, Merlin and Evelyn Hodgson; sister, Janet Adams; brother, JB; and son-in-law, Rodney. 

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