Madison - Dr. James "Jim" W. Bitterman, age 84, was born January 7th, 1929 to Anthony and Lucinda Bitterman in Chesaning, MI. He passed away March 18, 2013. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Lois, brothers Art, Robert, John, and sister Arlene Simmons. He is survived by his brother Dale (Geri) and sister Maxine (Ken) Dubay; children James Jr. of Middleton, Anthony of Madison, Ruth of Highland, California and Amy (Mark) Isaf of Paris Illinois; and grandchildren Salem and Sarah Isaf and Jimmy Zblewski.
Jim married Lois Ruth Reckers in Minneapolis, MN on November 25, 1959. Their 22 year marriage produced four children.
Jim was raised on a farm in Michigan where his love of animals and nature developed at an early age. He attended college at St. Thomas Aquinas in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he met his lifelong friend, Ken Dubay, who later became his brother-in-law. Jim and Ken's shared sense of humor and their love of a good joke drove them through school, as well as the chartreuse colored Ford Model A, which they would use to transport the nuns around campus. Jim was president of his senior class and graduated as valedictorian at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Following his graduation from college in 1949, Jim served his country as a Navigator in the United States Air Force. He was stationed in Hawaii, where his frequent missions to the Phillipine Islands helped develop his love for travel. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1953 at the rank of First Lieutenant. He moved to St. Louis Missouri where he attended dental school at St. Louis University.
It was at St. Louis University that he met and married his future wife Lois Reckers. They were married on November 25, 1959. Jim worked hard and graduated valedictorian of both his dental and orthodontic classes. He made many friends in St. Louis including lifelong friends Dr. Norbert and Darlene Burzynski.
Upon graduation from St. Louis University, Jim accepted an opportunity to join Dr. Leo Groth in his orthodontic practice in Madison, WI. Jim enjoyed a 29 year partnership and continued friendship with Dr. Groth. After retiring from his orthodontic practice, Jim was more fully able to pursue his passion for travel. He had a fondness for the pacific islands, particularly Micronesia, where he engaged in island hopping with Ken Dubay. He also took frequent visits to the Caribbean where he pursued one of his favorite hobbies, scuba diving. Jim and Lois traveled extensively to places near and far. They particularly enjoyed spending several weeks each summer with family and friends in Door County, Wisconsin. In retirement, he was fond of spending his winters with his good friend Wally Schneider, at his home in Mesa, Arizona.
He was a loving and caring father and a kind and gentle man. He was very generous, often giving his time and services to those who were otherwise unable to afford orthodontic services. He gave to many charitable organizations. The family requests those wishing to give in his memory make donations to the Dane County Humane Society or the University of Wisconsin Arboretum.
The family would like to thank those close to Jim for their many years of friendship. The family would also like to express their gratitude and appreciation to the physicians, nurses and staff of Meriter Hospital for their wonderful care in his last days.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 11 a.m. at ST MARIA GORETTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5313 Flad Ave., with Father Chad Drossler presiding.
Private burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. A visitation will take place from 10 a.m. until the time of service.