Lee M. Oettinger, age 80, died peacefully at home Saturday, April 23, surrounded by his loving family.
Lee was born in Waukesha to Theodore (Ted) and Irene Oettinger on May 29, 1941. A natural athlete, Lee played football and ran track at Waukesha High School as part of the class of 1959. He attended Marquette University on a full track scholarship and graduated in 1963 with a degree in Business Administration. After college, Lee completed the ROTC program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Upon completion of his Army service, Lee returned to Waukesha and enjoyed a successful career in IT at RTE Corporation and RTE/ASEA before retiring from Aurora Healthcare.
It was at a high school class reunion that Lee reconnected with former classmate Peg Panawash Simons. While Lee once had a crush on Peggy in high school, it would take 35 years for their love story to unfold. After that magical reunion they dated for five years and married in 1999.
Lee was a kind, unassuming man with a generous heart and many interests. His life-long passion for HO model railroading began at age four when he received his first train. In later years, Lee volunteered at the Oconomowoc Historical Society Museum and helped build and maintain the museum’s Milwaukee Northwestern Model Railroad exhibit. The 21 x 32 foot HO scale layout is the largest model railroad exhibit in a museum in Wisconsin, depicting many towns along the train’s historical route in the 1950s from Milwaukee to western Wisconsin.
An avid sports enthusiast, Lee was active in softball, tennis and golf and loved to cheer on the Badgers, Packers and Brewers. His love of Dixieland jazz is legendary. Before he died, Peg surprised him with a live Dixieland band performance at home. Lee loved spending time at home, but some of his favorite trips included an Alaskan Cruise and riding the Durango Silverton Railroad . He also enjoyed reading and was always up for a game of cribbage.
Lee was greatly loved and will be missed by his wife, Peg, daughter Kelly (Bill) Meisner of Waukesha, and sons Patrick Oettinger of Milwaukee and Greg Oettinger of Sun Prairie. Lee is also survived by sisters Jean Oettinger of Menomonee Falls and Laurie (Steve) Smart of Waukesha; grandchildren Eric (Jessika) Meisner and Emily Meisner (fiancé Ryan Jones); stepchildren Kyle (Mary) Roberts, Marnie Roberts and Maria Roberts; and step-grandchildren Shannon, Josh and Molly Lecher, Elizabeth and Megan Roberts, and Keegan Anderson.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Lee’s memory can be made to: Oconomowoc Historical Society for the Milwaukee Northwestern Model Railroad Group or the American Cancer Society.
A service in celebration for Lee’s life will take place on Wednesday, May 4 at Randle Dable Brisk Funeral Home, 1110 South Grand Avenue, Waukesha. Visitation will take place from 10 a.m. to noon with a service to follow. The family would like to thank Aurora at Home Zilber Family Hospice and especially Samantha who made the last days of Lee’s life comfortable and peaceful.