Robert "Bob" K. Blitzke

February 28, 1948 - February 01, 2023


Obituary For Robert "Bob" K. Blitzke

Robert “Bob” K Blitzke, age 74, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at Meriter Hospital with his wife Jane Grogan at his side. Bob was born in Fond du Lac, the son of Kenneth and Mary (DuFrane) Blitzke.

Bob graduated from Goodrich High School in 1966 and immediately headed to Great Lakes Naval Station. He served 4 years in the US Navy, which included time in the submarines service. After his discharged he headed to Madison to attend UW Madison. Bob was united in marriage to Jane Grogan on July 24,1981.

Bob was an easy man to love. He had a smile for everyone, and he loved to talk to people. But he didn’t only talk—he listened to what they had to say and what they wanted. Helping people was part of his heart and strength. Bob found the made-for-him job after he got his library degree—working for the South-Central Library System in the Delivery Service. Bob started as the driver of the single delivery van, but his vision expanded the book exchange service from Madison only to all the counties in the System and finally to a state-wide service. The Delivery van fleet increased to 22 by the time of his retirement in 2008. Bob’s energy and interests led him to the PLATO organization. After enjoying a variety of the course offerings, he had the idea of taking learning from the classroom to “on the road”.

Delivery was so engrained in him that he had the idea of taking people out into the world to theater productions, museums, events and of course exploring dining offerings on each trip. Bob faced many medical challenges that limited his mobility by 2019. Despite his physical challenges, Bob was always upbeat and ready to take on the next project.

Bob is survived by his wife; three sisters, Barbara Henschen of Fond du Lac, Joan (Mark) Rakow of Sheboygan, Betty (Rose Kleman) of Sun Prairie; Bob is further survived by his loving in-laws, Tom (Patricia Schweitzer) Grogan of Madison, Katie (Richard) Hoeppner of Sun Prairie, Mary Elizabeth Grogan of Tucson AZ, Jo Anne Grogan of Belleville; 11 nieces and nephews and 10 great nieces and nephews.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents; wife’s parents; and brother in-law Bill Grogan.

A visitation will be held from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Thursday, February 9, 2023, at Ryan Funeral Home, 220 Enterprise Drive, Verona, WI.

Memorials can be made out to the South-Central Library System Foundation, to Second Harvest, PLATO or organization of your choice.

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services Verona Chapel 220 Enterprise Drive 608-845-6625

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  • March 31, 2023

    I am heart broken to learn of Bill's passing. We had some interesting and fun adventures while Bill was stationed with the tug fleet Virginia and, later, when I visited him at submarine training in Connecticut before I shipped out to Vietnam. He will always remain an important fixture in my memories of that crucial and most wonderful part of my life. With my deepest sympathy to his wife and family. George Justus

  • February 15, 2023

    Jane, all of us send our deepest condolences. I will really miss Bob bounding or rolling into our concerts with a smile on his face, basically saying, "I'm here, I'm ready!" I was so happy to see you both this June and love that he got a front row seat! We're all so sorry for your--and our--loss. We're here for you. XOXO Sam, Stephanie, and Jeffrey and all of us at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society

  • February 12, 2023

    Impossible on this night (and every night) to imagine a world without Bob. On a night such as this, he and Jane would be creating in the kitchen, carefully curated music on the CD player, and welcoming one and all into their beautiful home with the warm embrace of family love. How we all miss him, and how grateful I am for many long years of unforgettable memories of his sweet, sweet soul. RIP dear Bob, and dearest, deepest condolences, Jane. We are sorry for your loss.

  • February 09, 2023

    My sympathies to the family and friends of Bob. On behalf of the staff at South Central Delivery, I want to acknowledge that his influence and vision are ever-present. For the staff that he may have hired into a first job or what they may have believed to be a bridge to the next, many remain here today fulfilling the mission of serving our local library community with excellence. His influence is in virtually everything we do. I only had the single occasion of meeting Bob and it was an honor to meet the person who is very much a part of my daily routine in his role from so many years before. He will not be forgotten in the role he has played for so many. -Corey Baumann SCLS Delivery Services Coordinator

  • February 09, 2023

    Jane -- I'm very sorry to hear about Bob's passing. I so enjoyed working with Bob at South Central. He was friendly, welcoming and supportive of newcomers to the system and a knowledgeable colleague to all. Getting to know you and Bob was a highlight of our years in Madison. You're in our thoughts at this difficult time. Mary Wepking

  • February 07, 2023

    Jane, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm thinking of you and your family.

  • February 07, 2023

    I met Bob and Jane through the wonderful trips he and Jane arranged for Plato. It was wonderful to talk to him about making special arrangements. For instance, I asked if Plato buses could pick people up at Capital Lakes in Madison and without hesitation he arranged that. I was so happy because I don't have a car and my access to trips was limited. I also remember hitching a ride on a Plato bus going to Milwaukee so that I could go to the Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee and Bob got me there just in time. When he retired from Plato I knew I'd miss him. He was so kind to me. Beverly Bednar

  • February 06, 2023

    Jane, our sympathy goes out to you. We meet Bob in the 70's when he was our downstairs neighbor in McFarland. We quickly became friends. Even in those early years he was fun, positive and always moved to improve the world he was working in. Later in life, we were blessed to be reconnected again with Bob and you thru Plato's bus trips. Fred and Lynda Paasch

  • February 06, 2023

    Bob was a wonderful man who made my life better every time he stopped at the Middleton, Cambridge, and Sun Prairie Public Libraries where I worked, when he was delivering. He was among the warmest and most sincere individuals I have ever encountered. His optimism made everyone around him smile and he enriched the lives of everyone he touched. He will not be forgotten. Debbie Bird

  • February 05, 2023

    In 1987, Bob hired me as a part time van driver for SCLS. I just graduated from the UW & was looking for a fulfilling, socially responsible job. Bob proved to be supportive, kind, and forgiving guide into the post college library world. On departing from Madison 18 months later, Bob wrote a glowing letter of recommendation, which led a decades long happy career at the Johns Hopkins University Libraries. Am so very sorry to read of his passing. John Schweitzer Baltimore MD

  • February 05, 2023

    So sorry for your loss. I remember Bob fondly working with him in the basement of Madison Public Library sorting the deliveries with the radio playing the whole time. He will be remembered fondly by all who knew him.

  • February 04, 2023

    I met Bob through Plato road trips and have fond memories of his smile, his kindness, his devotion to Plato. He was a gift to many of us who reaped the harvest of the enthusiastic seeds he sowed. He will be missed! My condolences to Jane and Bob's family. Jeanne Venzke

  • February 04, 2023

    Dear Jane, I am so sorry for your loss. I will never forget the wonderful bus trips to plays, and even an overnight to Chicago, that Bob organized through the Plato organization. He was always so welcoming and helpful to everyone. His enthusiasm was contagious. He gave so much of his time to others. Eve Wilkie

  • February 03, 2023

    Jane - I'm so sorry for your loss. It's hard to believe that he's gone from this world. I enjoyed working with him at the South Central Library System for 20+ years. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Shirley May

  • February 03, 2023

    Jane, My deepest sympathy and warmest thoughts are with you on the loss of Bob. The words in the obituary that Bob was easy to love are so true, as are Peter Hamon's words (earlier in these tributes) about Bob's "grand idea." I am so proud that Bob did some research and brainstorming about his grand idea in a graduate class with me on library systems and networks. From that time to now, I have considered Bob a friend and an inspiration. We'll all miss him dearly, but our rich memories will give him what I think of as immortality. What a guy! Charles Bunge

  • February 03, 2023

    Dear Jane, My sincere sympathy goes out to you. Bob was a big part of the Adams/DuFrane family. Many good thoughts of him come to mind! I will miss him he was always interested in what was going on with the family. Growing up with all the cousins from both sides of the family was truly a blessing. Although it's difficult today to see beyond your sorrow, remember that looking back in memory will help comfort you tomoorrow. With sincere sympathy from the family of Edward C. Adams & Alice M.(Adams) Lippe

  • February 03, 2023

    Dear Jane, I am so sorry to learn of Bob's passing you've had some wonderful times and built a great life together. Go forward and be happy as Bob would like you to do it's a long journey for you but believe me there are sunny days ahead best to you Julie Guell.

  • February 03, 2023

    Jane, Our deepest sympathies. Not only was he a dear friend, but also, perhaps more than anyone else, he was responsible for the shared library network that serves us all today. I well remember the day he came into my office with his grand idea. He built the service, and I just wrote the checks and got the hell out of his way. I will miss him!

  • February 03, 2023

    Bob was a huge asset for the South Central Library System. He created the best delivery system of library books thatl is still working today. He gave generously of his time to the SCLS Foundation too. He was awarded the SCLSF Cornerstone award in 2011 for his advocacy work with libraries. Plus he was just the nicest guy. Martha Van Pelt SCLS System Director

  • February 03, 2023

    Oh, Jane, I am so sorry for your loss. Bob and you were such a good team. All the PLATO trips you managed perfectly over the years were amazing — so many wonderful memories........ thank you!! God bless. Muriel Krone

  • February 02, 2023

    Bob was genuine, authentic, and a joy to behold. His warmth and kindness spoke to the deep eternal truths. Bob added much to the Extended Grogan collection of legends and lore. One of my personal favorites is how he created the notion of "stand up book reports" while we assembled and huddled around the FESTIVUS Pole. The rules became easy: any statement of a grievance must be joined with a heartfelt expression of gratitude. Book reports are always timely and welcome. His pursuit of lifeline learning helped inspire me to audit UW classes revert semester after I stopped working for others. Tom

  • February 02, 2023

    I am so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I haven't seen him in years but I remember his smile and when I hear his name, I think of his warm smile. My thoughts and prayers are with your family in this time. Sending love and light ❤️🕊️

  • February 01, 2023

    My thoughts and prayers are with Jane and all of Bob's family.

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Services provided for both parents were perfect, on time, and no issues. Brenda is awesome and strong!

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