John's whole family is appreciative and proud of his ‘honorific' as Esq. As such, he was stellar. His most important titles though were Dad, Grampa and Great Grampa. In these roles, as in many others, John, throughout his life was formidable (pronounced in a French accent for pure emphasis). For his widespread well-populated family, John, a Renaissance Man, was fluent in the language of the way in which the world works. He was devoted, engaged and tireless. Our “North Star” died peacefully in his sleep at the family home in Helena of sudden onset kidney cancer that rapidly metastasized to his lungs. His wife of 39 years, Sandy, was with him.
John was preceded in death by his parents, John and Helen Zera Oitzinger, his infant son, John, his son-in-law, Robert Sanderson, and his mother-in-law, Hildred Scire, ostensibly his greatest fan.
He is survived by his wife Sandy, his Daughter, Nancy, and granddaughter Destinee Rojas Oitzinger (Aldo); Daughter Janet Sanderson, granddaughter, Heather Irby and her kiddos, Brooke and Jacob, granddaughter Michelle Johnson (Anton) and their kiddos Robert and Loretta, and grandson, Paul Sanderson; Son James W. Oitzinger (Lisa); Daughter Karen Donnelly (Kevin), and granddaughters Sarah, Kristen and Megan; Daughter Katie (Joe) and grandsons, Kai Rendino (Jessica) who is in law school and Miles Rendino; Sandy's Daughters Christine Sanders, grandsons, Joey and Mitch (Skye) and kiddos Tristan and Paige, granddaughter Marlena; Jennifer Magee, and grandchildren, Leyna and Liam. John and Sandy's daughters together are Hilary Oitzinger Betson (Andrew) and Johnna Preble (Chad), who is a Kalispell Assistant City Attorney, grandchildren Sabrina, Elijah, Grace and River. John is also survived by his brother, James T. Oitzinger and niece, soon to be Mom in her own right, Anne; his sister Janet Oitzinger, numerous nieces and nephews and grand n&n's. He is also survived by his cousins, Doug and Jane Oitzinger, his longtime friends Doug and Anne Nagan, David Johnson of Helena, and Shelley ‘Bear' Immel. All of the above are peppered across the country and John was ever the enthusiastic camper van traveler for visiting far and near, including having visited Allison and Jerry Wolf-Wilhelm last year in Minnesota. A year or two before, John had attended Notre Dame's Reunion and the Rich Township High Reunion and reconnected with many dear friends thereby. John enjoyed our Salons at the Montana Club that hosted and discussed authors with Montana connections and he also frequented political and community fetes, many of which were connected with our treasured Pat Williams “family.”
As aforesaid, John was an attorney. He graduated from Fordham University Law School (Chem. Eng. undergrad at Notre Dame). In law school, John was the very first night law-school Law Review Editor—a big deal. He practiced securities law with Wilke, Farr and Gallaher for 18 years on Wall Street in New York. He then moved to Helena, practicing first as a partner with the Jackson firm and as Bond Counsel for the States of Montana and Wyoming. Later on, he practiced as a partner with Oitzinger and Mullendore, then as a sole, and with his daughter Hilary. He inspired several of his progeny who have taken up this charge to protect, uphold, and advance the law in myriad ways. This is a tradition we expect to continue. Finally, he practiced as a Legal Services Volunteer Attorney for many years, advising clients on housing issues. For this work, John was given the Neil Haight Pro Bono Award for 2018.
At roughly the same time, John volunteered with Montana Wild in the Spring Meadow Complex in Helena, and there found his bliss among associate volunteers (Gerry and Mary Ryan and many others) and its devoted staff. Let's face it, though, John had his true heart connections with the owls, Slash and Luna, to name two. Ever the outdoorsman, John connected deeply with Montana as his Last, Best and Forever Place. Other members of the animal kingdom to which John gave his heart were numerous beloved household pets, culminating in the be-all-end-all of pets Dante AlleghEARi Oitzinger, who died in July 2019. There's a farm up there without cheatgrass, we are sure.
As is now customary, no funeral services will be held in the short term. A memorial gathering will be attempted at a later time as COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. In lieu of flowers, or other recognition, John’s various communities are asked to donate to the Foundation for Animals in Helena at PO Box 389, Helena, MT 59624 (donations so directed will come to Montana Wild at Spring Meadow Complex) or to donate to Montana Legal Services Association, and Hospice of St. Peters (who enabled the gift to Sandy and John of having John in the warm arms of his Helena home for his passing, which was peaceful, though all too soon).
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