In memory of
Valitchka, Matthew Matthew James Valitchka I Matthew J. Valitchka, age 96, died at Green Bay's Odd Fellow Nursing Home on October 1, 2016. He was born December 13, 1919 in Oconto, Wis. to Frank and Lydia (Kittler) Valitchka. On May 2, 1944, he married Etheljean Schomaker, daughter of Werner H. and Ethelyn (Deau) Schomaker. Born to Matthew and Etheljean were five children: Claudia Jean (Sanders), Cynthia Joan (Bomber), Rebecca Jane (Frederick), Matthew James II and Luke John. Matthew attended public schools in Oconto, graduating from OHS in 1938. After working three and one-half years at various jobs and being rejected by the U.S. Air Force and the draft, he enrolled in Marinette County Normal Teachers College. He later earned his bachelor of science degree from WSC-Oshkosh (1955) and his Masters from UW-Madison (1965). He gained additional graduate credit from Appalachia State University. He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, a life member of the National Education Association (1957) and a six-year fellow of the /I/D/E/A/Kettering Foundation. Valitchka enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a school teacher and administrator. A one room school, Goldhorn, in Oconto County was his first teaching assignment. During World War II, he resigned his teaching job and worked as an office clerk at Kewaunee Shipbuilding. Then from 1944-49, he taught and coached at Lena. From 1949-1961, Valitchka served as teaching principal and basketball coach at Oconto's Jefferson Elementary School where as a boy, he had attended grades 3-8. He always felt close to the people and kids and teachers of Jefferson. Mr. Valitchka went on to serve in public schools in various administrative-leadership roles in Peshtigo, CESA 3-Appleton, UW-Oshkosh, Neenah, UW-Madison and Ashwaubenon. He finished his career as an educator in Wisconsin as the superintendent for White Lake School. Matt's professional associates elected him president of the Wisconsin State Reading Association (1969-70) and WI Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (WASCD, 1978-79). After his retirement, Matt and Ejay moved to Florida where they resided for fourteen years. While there, Valitchka returned to work as administrator for evening programs at Hillsborough Community College, Planet City, for three years. During this same period as a consultant for Polk County Schools, he led their development to a middle school configuration. In 1999, Matt and Ejay returned to Marinette where they built a beautiful home on Wilderness Trail, their "Woodsong". Matt was an avid and accomplished golfer, as evidenced by his hole-in-one and Mid-Vallee Golf Course club championship. As a young man, he played basketball, baseball and softball. Bowling was also a long-time interest for Valitchka; he rolled two 700 series. Lifetime hobbies were small and upland game hunting, reading and writing, travel, physical fitness and spectator golf, bowling and baseball. As well, one of his signature traits was a robust appetite for all food groups, especially mincemeat pie, fine single malt Scotch and chocolate-covered peanuts. Matt was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Alice (and Wilbur) Saucier; brother, Roy (and Marie); his sister, Eunice (and John Johnson); and three daughters, Becky and premature infants, Josephine and Mary. Surviving is his sister, Dorothy Coopman (Ben, deceased). He is further survived by children, Claudia (George) Sanders, Cynthia (Bill) Bomber, Matt (Teo) Valitchka and Luke (Sherri) Valitchka. His grandchildren are Paul (Jen) Sanders, Gina (Eric) Larsen, Aleta (Craig) Young, Natalie, Gregory and Andrew Valitchka and Zoe Valitchka. Great-grandchildren are Alex and Carrie Young, Autumn, Caleb, Noah and Chloe Sanders and Lydia and Henry (Hank) Larsen. A celebration of Matt Valitchka's life followed by a luncheon will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2016, (please note date) at 11:00 a.m. at the Oconto Golf Club, 532 Jefferson Street, Oconto. Hansen-Onion-Martell funeral home of Marinette is assisting with arrangements.
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