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Des Moines

Lawrence “Frenchy” Sitterle, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away in the early hours of Saturday, April 7, 2018, at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Des Moines. He was 92 years old.

The eldest of three brothers, Lawrence was born in Cooper, Iowa on May 13, 1925. In his nine decades of life, he witnessed some of the most extraordinary events of the twentieth century. At age eight, while spending the summer on his uncle’s farm near Dexter, Iowa, Lawrence ran the mile to the mailbox and back each morning, for fear of crossing paths with the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, who were in hiding nearby.

At fourteen, he watched Babe Ruth hit line drives into the Raccoon River, when the famous baseball player made an appearance in Adel. A black and white photograph of Lawrence and three friends posing with Ruth still has place of honor in the family living room.

Lawrence completed his studies at Jamaica High School in 1943. He was seventeen. His mother collected his diploma, because by graduation day, he had enlisted in the United States Navy. He proudly served in the South Pacific until the war was won. Ten days later, Lawrence’s ship landed in Yokohama, Japan. He stood on a dock alone. When a streetcar pulled up, on a whim, Lawrence jumped on the back, the only American aboard. He ended up in Tokyo, where he was amazed by the grand theaters. He stopped into two of them, and stayed a while even though he couldn’t understand a word. Lawrence was the last surviving World War II veteran of the USS Hopewell.

He met his wife Florence (Hamman), of Perry, Iowa, while home on leave. They married in 1946, and raised their children in Des Moines. In 1958, they won a contest at the Hinky Dinky supermarket, and were offered either a trip to Paris or a Chevy Delray. Ever-practical, they went with the car. Lawrence worked as a truck driver with Lint Transportation, retiring in 1985.

Always eager to help a neighbor or a stranger in need, Lawrence will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, and dedication to family. He was preceded in death by his parents Alfred and Marie Sitterle, his brothers Harold and William Sitterle, and his son Dennis Sitterle. He is survived by his wife of seventy-one years, Florence Sitterle, his children Denise Johannesen and Larry Sitterle, grandchildren Kevin (Courtney) Johannesen and Kelli (Bill) Johannesen-Logan, and two great-grandsons: Bennett William and Leo Lawrence.

Visitation will be held from 11a.m. to 1p.m., with funeral services immediately after, on Thursday, April 12 at Hamilton’s Funeral Home, 605 Lyon Street, Des Moines. Burial will follow at Sunset Cemetery. The family wishes to thank everyone at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital for the excellent care Lawrence received there. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Honor Flight Network.



Service Details

Visitation:
Thursday, April 12, 2018
11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines
Service:
Thursday, April 12, 2018
1:00 pm
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines
Disposition:
Sunset Memorial Gardens
Des Moines
Arrangements:
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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