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Witliff, John S.

From the Port Huron Times Herald, Sat., Jan. 20, 1934
"Dies Today in His Home after Illness of Several Months" [photo] "John Wittliff dies in home"

"Rites for former Postmaster to be held Tuesday"

John S. Wittliff, 63, founder of the Wittliff Insurance Agency and former Port Huron postmaster, died this morning in his home, 812 Griswold St., after an illness of 9 months.

He is survived by his widow and three sons, Frank J., Edmund J., and John S. Wittliff Jr., all of Port Huron; three daughters, Mrs. John A. Barnet and Miss Catherine Wittliff, both of Port Huron; and Mrs. Ambrose O'Malley, New Baltimore; four brothers, Rev. Fr. Stephen A. Wittliff, director of the Detroit Diocesan Apostolate; Joseph C. and P. Leo Wittliff, all of Detroit; L.A. Wittliff, Los Angeles; two sisters, Mrs. Frank Smith, Los Angeles, and Mrs. R. Fred Ott, Port Huron; and 12 grandchildren.

Mr. Wittliff was born Dec. 20, 1870 near Anchorville. He was the son of Joseph and Theresa Linderman Wittliff.

In 1877 the family moved to Marysville, Missouri, and six years later returned to Michigan and settled in Port Huron. John Wittliff started to peddle a Detroit newspaper here when he was 14 and the following year was given sole agency for distribution of the paper in Port Huron and vicinity.

He continued this work for 20 years and qualified as a correspondent for that and other papers. He was assigned to staff work and special articles.

He was married May 1, 1894 to Miss Catherine Schwickert, Port Huron, daughter of John and Minnie Marx Schwickert. 

In 1905 Mr. Wittliff opened an insurance office here. He later took over the Harvey Bush, Palmer I. Carson, Wilson & Co. and the Percival agencies.

He was appointed postmaster here by President Wilson in 1914 and served until 1922. He was a staunch Democrat and was active in furthering the party's interests. He believed better government could be obtained if both principal parties were nearly equal in strength.

He maintained an active interest in political, fraternal, and civic life of the city.

He was a past Grand Knight of Port Huron council #521, Knights of Columbus, and a member of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic church, Holy Name Society, St. Joseph's Society, Port Huron Lodge #343 BPO Elks, Knights of the Maccabees and the German Aid Society of the Loyal Guards. He was a charter member and first president of the local Catholic Mutual Benefit Association.

The remains will lie in state in the home until Tuesday morning.

From the Port Huron Times Herald of Tuesday, Jan. 23, 1934
"Hundreds Honor Late J.S. Wittliff at Funeral Rites"

Hundreds of friends with whom he was associated in business, social and civic activities in Port Huron attended funeral services this morning in St. Joseph's Catholic church for John S. Wittliff, founder of the Wittliff Insurance Agency and former Port Huron postmaster, who died in his home, 812 Griswold Street, Saturday.

Rev. Fr. Stephen A. Wittliff, brother of Mr. Wittliff, director of the Detroit Diocesan Apostolate, was celebrant of solemn requiem high mass. Rev. Fr. Thomas A. Connell, pastor of St. Joseph's church, was deacon; Rev. Fr. Thomas J. McMahon, assistant pastor of St. Joseph's church, was subdeacon. Rev. Fr. M.E. Halfpenny, former pastor of St. Joseph's church, Detroit,
preached the sermon.

Burial was in Mt. Hope cemetery. Frank J. Trese, Charles L. Sharrow, Hugh E. Stringer, Louis J. Preininger Sr., Edward M. Marx and Leo E. Wetzel were pallbearers.

submitted by Kathy Strickland