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Victor Anthony Fritz went home to the Lord early in the morning on Saturday, December 23, 2023. He was born on September 4, 1926 on the corner of Pulaski Street and State Street in Auburn, New York to his parents John and Stella (Rybash) Fritz. He was a devout Roman Catholic his entire life. As a child, he was a parishioner of St. Hyacinth’s Church and was always grateful for his Catholic education at St. Hyacinth’s School. Victor was always a hard worker and began working at the age of eight. He worked a myriad of jobs, including as a helper on a milk delivery truck for Holmes Dairy, located on Park Avenue in Auburn, where he would spend his final days at the Finger Lakes Center for Living.
After attending Central and West High Schools, Victor enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 1, 1944. He attended and graduated from the U.S. Navy Basic Engineering and Diesel Engineering Schools and served on LST #642 as a Chief Petty Officer in the engine rooms. When the war ended in August 1945, he was in a flotilla of amphibious landing ships gathering near Okinawa for the October 1945 invasion of the Japanese homeland. Consequently, Victor was on one of the first ships to bring army and marine personnel to occupy Nagasaki in early September 1945. While in the Pacific Theater of Operations, he was also in the Marshall Islands, Guam, the Mariana Islands, the Philippines, and the Ryukyu Islands. After being honorably discharged from the Navy on June 10, 1946, Victor returned to Auburn where he took his final exams at West High School to obtain his diploma.
In 1948, Victor met Alma Zelinski, the love of his life. He was paired with her at his sister Rita’s wedding to her brother Jerry as usher and bridesmaid, and the rest was history. They were married in Shamokin, Pennsylvania at St. Stanislaus Church, by her uncle, the Reverend Jerome Holubowicz, on August 1, 1953. They had four beautiful children over the next eleven years - Gary, Bob, Eileen and Anita - and built a wonderful life in Auburn. The family were parishioners at St. Alphonsus Church, and Victor and Alma celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary there in 2003.
Victor was hired by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in 1948 and built his career there. Initially, he worked on the shop floor in almost every department as a union employee. In the 1960s, Victor began taking night classes at Auburn Community College (ACC). In 1969, he was promoted into management at Alco. He graduated from ACC in 1970, with an A.S. degree in Math and Science. Victor continued his studies at Syracuse University. He graduated in 1976 with a B.A. in Mathematics with a concentration in Science. Victor retired in 1987 from Alco as Chief Industrial Engineer after 39 years of service and worked as a consultant to the president of the company for seven years following.
In his retirement, Victor began to grow and hybridize daylilies. He built a beautiful garden in the backyard of his family home on Alden Avenue. Over the years, he registered many of his exceptional plants with the American Hemerocallis Society, naming them after Alma, his children, grandchildren and other members of his family. His other passions in retirement included writing beautiful poetry, and documenting family and local history.
Victor was a wonderful father and grandfather - a true patriarch of his family. His whole world revolved around his immediate and extended family. His grandchildren affectionately called him “Pa” and everyone always looked forward to the most marvelous Polish Christmas Eve (Wigilia) celebrations at his home. His Catholic faith was instilled in everything he did, and he passed along that faith to his family. He encouraged everyone to pray the Rosary daily and always reminded us of the famous words of Pope John Paul II to “be not afraid.” He had special devotions to the Blessed Mother, Pope John Paul II, Saint Therese the Little Flower, and Saint Teresa of Avila.
After selling his home on Alden Avenue in 2014, Victor moved into Schwartz Towers and lived many happy years independently there with the help of his daughters, as well as a care team which included Susan Wiler and Karen Ryan. He spent his final months in the Finger Lakes Center for Living, and loved and was beloved by its wonderful nurses and staff.
Victor joins his beautiful wife Alma in Eternal Life, and is also predeceased by his parents and brothers, John and Alfred. He is survived by his sister Rita Zelinski; his children Gary (Elaine) Fritz of Walworth, NY; Robert (Gail) Fritz of Oklahoma City, OK; Eileen (Kurt) Gelke of Pittsford, NY; Anita (Jack) Casper of Auburn; grandchildren Michael (Jordan) Fritz, Christopher (Kristin) Fritz, Lauren (Matthew) Child, Katarina Gelke, Bryan Fritz, Magdalene (Brett) Boyer, Alexander Casper, Gabriel Gelke, Samuel Casper; five precious great grandchildren (with a sixth on the way), and several nieces and nephews.
His funeral will be held at St. Hyacinth’s Church in Auburn on Saturday December 30th. Calling hours will be 10am - 11:15am, with a funeral Mass starting at 11:30am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Tyburn Academy in Auburn, New York in his name. To offer condolences, please visit whitechapelfh.com