John Norbert DeYoung, age 86 passed away peacefully on May 2, 2023 with his family at his side in Appleton, Wisconsin. He bravely battled multiple health issues including auto-immune lung disease over the last 18 months, with his wife Janet caring for him at home with the assistance of ThedaCare hospice.
John was born December 13, 1936 to Norbert and Gertrude (Ganzyk) DeYoung. He attended Sacred Heart grade school in Appleton, and graduated from Menasha St. Mary’s high school in 1955. John was an outstanding athlete, earning 11 letters in football, basketball and baseball. He was a key member of two state championship basketball teams in 1953 and 1955 and a state baseball championship in 1954 under coach Ralph McClone, who called John “pound for pound the best athlete I ever coached”. He was elected to the St. Mary’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990, and attended the University of Wyoming on a baseball scholarship. He played fast pitch softball for many years, including pitching several no-hit games. He also excelled at bowling rolling a 300 game and qualifying for WBAY’s Northeastern Wisconsin Championship Bowling show, and golf including a hole in one and reaching the semifinals of the Wisconsin State Amateur tournament.
John married the love of his life Janet Rose Oettinger on August 8, 1959 at Holy Cross Church in Kaukauna. Together they enjoyed 63 years of marriage and made many life-long friends through his sports and work connections. John’s chosen occupation was bartending, starting with co-ownership of Jitter and John’s Bar in Menasha. He then served as bar manager at Thunder Bowl, and spent 29 years at Lakeroad Lanes in Neenah where he and good friend Kathy Sodermark provided the best customer service in the Fox Valley. It was there that he met his long-time best friend Pete Muntner and his wife Kathy, who John and Janet spent many good times with over the years.
Family meant the world to John and Janet, including hosting Thanksgiving dinner for many years for John’s parents, siblings and their children. After his retirement he enjoyed bowling and golfing with his son Joe, and cherished the time he spent with his granddaughters Dana, Jenna and Maria and all the memories they made together. He also became good friends with many of his neighbors and enjoyed their camaraderie.
John is survived by his wife Janet, son Joe (Amy) DeYoung, granddaughters Dana (Phil) Giuffre, Jenna (Sam) Gentles and Maria (Payton) Hosch, and great grandchildren Colton, Keston and baby girl (due July) Giuffre, and Reese Gentles. He is further survived by his brothers Paul (Judy) DeYoung and David (Carol) DeYoung, sisters Barbara (Butch) Vander Putten and Tina (Fred) Poppe, brother in-law James Oettinger, sisters in-law Carol Geenen (special friend John Hibbard) and Dawn Killian, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceeded in death by his parents Norbert and Gertrude DeYoung, brother Luke DeYoung, sisters Elizabeth Meyerhofer and Katherine DeYoung, father and mother in-law Arthur and Cecelia Oettinger, in-laws Joseph and Lonnie Oettinger, Ralph and Mary Walsh, Donald Geenen, Thomas Killian and Thomas Oettinger.
The funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, May 6 at 11:00 am at St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 2331 E. Lourdes Drive, Appleton. Visitation will be held at the church from 9:00 am until the time of the funeral mass. We kindly request that in lieu of flowers donations may be sent in John’s name to St. Bernadette Church.
The family would like to thank the ThedaCare hospice nurses and staff at Cherry Meadows for their compassionate care for John. They are truly special people who provide wonderful support to those in need.